Robin Ekiss

First Birthday

When I was born, there was no noise for him,

while she heard everything at once:


roil of water steaming the windows,

damper of milk rushing in to the ducts,


clockwork cry of each contraction,

again and again, the same frustration—


unable to feed itself or feel the illuminated touch

that makes us breathe or sigh.


When they lifted me out of her

body’s blue kiln, swollen as a fistful


of walnuts, veined cord

clinging to my neck like wisteria,


doll drowned in a jar, my spine coiled

like a screw into her woodenness.


When she told him, was he angry?

Was she waiting for something to begin?