Look the butterfly in the face. Study the open-shut
of its wings.
Open, the landscape
of their surface, every feathery scale.
Closed, their one edge near invisible.
What if you didn’t know about depth? Then what
would you believe?
In the book my daughters demand, Georgia
walks the desert every day. We don’t hear
the word pelvis, but see her lift with both hands
a white monarch of bone—bone responsible
for our upright gait, responsible for babies
so large-headed and helpless. Its wide wings
and through its window
Georgia’s view of the distance.
The four year old under a tent
of concentration. Her paper butterfly
and a sheet of stickers. Her two-fingered hold
on glittery hearts, glittery stars.
With her mouth closed she places them,
left wing just like the right. If I
had taught her this, which words
would I have used?
Before, I didn’t know the pelvis comes apart.
It broadens with birth. Now I run
and each step reminds me of the halves—
a deep, blunt shift. Only a sound
inside the body can be heard like this.
Or listen to a sonnet. Words revolve.
Our sentences are strings of mirrors
spun in sun. Listen for the edges.
Or the winged seed of a maple that flickers
toward you, flickers past—the v, a turn
and it’s gone. One thin line
contains the whole. The sundried wing
is full of empty air.
The children who might have taken hold
in all the months I wished for them.
The life in which my eldest gushed out red
before my belly even swelled.
The ones we might have made
but won’t, and the world
where no one heard my girl’s one yell
before Song Lake closed its mouth
over her reaching hand. The world
where we decided against them all.
The eyes of the ones we don’t see, and the not
of the two I hold now, one on each knee.