- after Kiki Smith

           i.        The Mother Tells the Child

                 Take this key       for your pink pocket.
Finger the curve, girl. A good weight
in the palm—these flesh teeth—fit
the lock of bone, unfasten

                 Eyes/ ears/ hands/ snout
                 —red thread, hunger
unspool along the cool        even tile.

Skinned.             Eat it up.
Stars/scat          Chew, chew.
                 Crone/child/       Whole girl.

           ii.        The Mother Shows Her

To find what lives
                 Look          to the liver          Sheath
                 under bone, to skin

                 Lung, womb—                 lymphatic
                 home                 Like this:                  It's how I know

From earth                  to breath                           I'm here
                 This vascular     map—pump
                 From blood        from food
                 and back


NOTE: While the imagery of the poem as a whole takes inspiration
from Kiki Smith's work generally, part ii of the poem refers specifically
to her piece, "How I Know I'm Here."

 

 

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