in a dream, i have a daughter & she calls me "mother"
so i bury her underneath the pine tree
alongside goldfish bones & cicada skeletons.
winter is full of holes & i spill out all of them.
she was soft like risen dough. un-baptized.
swaddled in newsprint like a fish.
lately, i have been thinking about children.
on a bookshelf, i build a tiny replica
of my bedroom in my parent's house.
bunk beds grow wild in the park
where i walk & witness children
summoning demons beneath the jungle gym.
i used to do the same. hair wracked with
wood chips. she was so hungry.
drank deeply from a bottle
as i sat holding her. telling her
we come from a long line of haunted boys.
asking my body what it could know
about fatherhood. she does not know
how to cry & i do not teach her.
says it again later from beneath
the soil. calling me "mother."
but that is not me so i back away
from the wreckage. every time she crawls free.
sits like a centerpiece
on the kitchen table. wriggling
or wrything. tell me the difference
between motherhood & grave-tending.
my gender grows as a birch tree
& then burns like a bush. nothing speaks.
only fire. we warm ourselves by it.
i feed her gold coins. later,
we will take a road trip to a crater.
eat the cores of apples. wash my hair
in thunderstorm breath, trying
to lose my "mother."