Another October licks the gutter. I run sidewalk streets. Leaves
collapsing, bleaching, dried. Their veins are maps
I see myself in. Thirteen & I’ve spent a lifetime outrunning
change – but what can I know or fear? Seasons tilt, leaves rattle.
Small things I miss. At home, my unraveled briefs: the small star of blood
unfurling in the toilet’s porcelain belly. My knee seeps,
scars pucker my arms like white lips – but they were like that
already. & I wanted to die already. What does it mean,
womanhood? A hallway, a door? Another dumb word
I’ll spend my life chasing. It came for my mother at eleven
when a girl framed her for theft, again at twenty-four
when she traveled an ocean to have me. She speaks
of fluorescent stains and the mat she slept on. Says immigration
is a series of rooms: how she ripped herself from a blood-pulse
womb – and what did she run from, & what did she miss?
Love, kin. Blood. A world shuts when you say it. But I bandage
the wound. For what is life if not a room to chase, & what is this blood
if not a smaller ocean to cross?