For Her to Enter This World

Hopscotch House, December 2010

"Daybreak" by Ashley Inguanta
“Daybreak” by Ashley Inguanta

By: Julie Hensley

Deer sniff the snow outside my window each evening,
and come morning, like softened scars, their tracks
cross sunlit pasture. I am able here
to follow the paths of wild things

into winter brush, always careful
to turn back when my abdomen tightens,
though at thirty-two weeks such labor is practice,
simply another form of quickening. My world here

is contracted, as well: husband and son grown small,
a spit of land viewed through a spy glass.
Still, I cannot help but train my eye on those distant
rocks. I step firmly—the rimed porch steps

glistening. At my desk, I trace these letters
into a constellation on which to course the coming
weeks. Sheltered by my quiet body, my daughter begins
to move again. Here, she speaks only to me, marking

the damp soil of my ribs, playing the splayed spoons
of my creaking hips. In the dark, voices fill
this empty house. I’m not sure I believe
in ghosts. But that light which flashes above

the mantle as I court sleep, surely it is a form
of knocking—they are back, the ones that bled
from me this time last winter. They suspect
what I know: already she has begun to snuff the flame

of that throbbing. What will become of their names
once I palm her dark hair, once I bow to her needy mouth?
I will rub their bones into fire. For her
to enter this world, so much must be sacrificed

to gods I don’t understand. I will pull
long hairs from my brush. I will shake
crusts from my plate. I will ask winter birds
to carry gifts wherever they roost.

2 replies on “For Her to Enter This World”

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