i. An autobiography of creases
on palms, webs of flesh constellating into
ridges and valleys, a scar from a burn you got
from a lightbulb, a crooked knuckle
from striking a car door. Lay them
facing skyward. You were born
in the seventies to a nuclear family, a shock
of black hair to match your brother. Your
father kept busy and furnished several Philadelphia
apartments in yellow ochre shag and plaid
couches. Your mother kept house and painted
ceramics and dressed you in pleated
skirts and pressed blouses.
ii. A line under the pinky; you married
at twenty-two after burying Opa and returning
home, with just enough time to prepare for the
baby. Oma carried the death on her
apron strings, nesting, a maternal magpie of
bonnets and blankets and crocheted swaddles to
busy her hands. Your parents warmed to
your swelling orb of a belly. Your brother hasn’t
called home in eight years. They don’t
wonder why.
iii. Across the palm, a channel breaks and stutters
a timeline of mothering. You left with
the infant star-eyed and wailing a litany,
her father a wisp, back to your own father and
mother waiting tight-lipped in the shallows of the
Atlantic, dripping honey before you struck the hive.