For the Child(ren) I Cannot Carry

A poem for Sunday

A metal slide in the sun
Trent Parke / Magnum

Because “a better life” is the immigrant’s most stubborn
illusion, I wanted a do-over. Other versions behind (beside)

me like so many costumes (countries). That one: the pink-
jacketed girl sweeping her tambourine under a dome

of hallelujahs. This one: the hoodied teenager being kissed
on a rooftop the way spring can make the moon’s blemishes

feel holy. I want you to know that there were moments staying
was easy. That I do not regret any of my wishes, even when

I have denied them. For years after the diagnosis, I could not
remember the name of the border inside me. Thanked the lean-

in zeitgeist that what hurts me is my salvation. Home is
a Millennial improbability anyway, and who the hell can

afford college in twenty years? I walked the stage like a tight-
rope at high-school graduation, terrified my water would

break, and my mother would have to look in the eyes of other
mothers. I searched for a clever metaphor, but which girls get to

imagine themselves loved is a political problem with no poetic
solution. Ice melts off the eaves. I let go and let go of the idea

of being your home. It is a daily labor. Sometimes, I confuse
it with the idea of you, out there among the dark matter that

fabrics the universe. Other times, you are Gabriel, Eloise—
laughing with faces almost mine, songs I almost recognize.