What do you make of me, father?
A child born with ten fingers, ten toes,
but with one hand that’s stuck, fingers curled
as though holding something. What does it hold?
What do you make of me, mother?
My back curves and sways,
my heart is too small.
I am not what you wanted. No poultice at all.
I’ve a mouth that can cry and can kiss.
When I smile, the tongue thrashes inside.
When I laugh, you’re reminded
of bees in their hives.
You’re unnerved when I stand, mouth to mouth,
eye to eye, with my sorry reflection.
I’m proof of something, I must be,
some sort of lesson.
It’s that, you believe, or a curse.
As I age, I only get worse.
Nerves flare and contract, the spine twists,
the hand stiffens and shuts itself tight.
All these years, and what have I proved?
I lie under heaven’s lewd eye and I dream
what it’s like to be lovely,
what it’s like to be loved.
REBECCA CROSS is a disabled poet who works as an editor in Vermont. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Woven Tale Press, Breath and Shadow, and Always Crashing.