I am of a nation of disbelievers. One of many
who only comes to geography by traveling.
Rhodesia became Zimbabwe, so they told me
the mothering instinct would come.
The stick turned a hesitant blue.
Cabbages, sweet onions, garlic, cayenne, and
beans. In some Third World nightmare,
women calling themselves friends admonished me to
straight-arm all comfort foods.
Brown women everywhere howled their sympathies.
You are born. The telling is easier when I forget
the gibbous bloom of your crown cut free of living rock:
Broken waters, fever, infection. Even flawed logic can be valid.
Pain has no reason, but to give it voice.
A gasp. Months, no sleep. I dreamt of leaving your father.
Stretch marks mar my breasts like muck in a dry river-
bed—forsaken places made sane by a red August
heat. This summer, a woman with my face did the
unspeakable, she crucified the last fairytale.