hey, sweetheart

Today you are six months old,

though we never got to count

that far together. Since last summer

I have been trying to be pinker,

tiny palms and noses sewn into the hem of small breasts.

I have been trying to live for half a family, to scatter you

in places you would have never gone. The sun shines

everywhere, I forgot to tell you this—

I couldn’t even convince you that this world

is safer with you in it.


Did you leave because I asked or

was there some flaw?

Was I the flaw?

Did you pick a better mother?

I picked an easier life.


Did you burn your handprint into the asphalt

so that I would never forget you were here?

You were born a teenager. Sometimes

I see you dancing along the curtains,

flickering, far-flung,

the leaves in the embroidery.


You are better than I am.


Look at me.

Here is the topography

of my uterus, the leylines drawn

from your unformed fingers.

Here is my leapfrog heart,

still trying to play,

dragging heavy

with your nameless weight.




Melissa Anne currently lives in the DC metro area. Her poetry and fiction have been published in Junoesq, FreezeRay Poetry, The Adroit Journal and the Scholastic Writing Award winners anthology, What We Remember, What We Forget.