Over the pot of Darjeeling tea
she told me that had they kept their first daughter
they might not have had me
and I realized that I had never considered that possibility
and the molecules and little bricks
that come together
and apart each day
to keep me going,
shifted again ever so slightly
in this conversational undoing of everything I am.
That knowledge sat in the corner of the tea shop
waiting for me to notice it.
Knowledge nodded at me, when I finally met its gaze.
We spent the rest of the day
discussing the generations
and the people who have passed
or have yet to come
and fondled the books
sampled the peaches and apple slivers
and laughed in the train station.
The land that I was raised on, bounding over the gravestones
and bones of the Iroquois, have seeped into me.
Their longhouse, this family that I am threaded to
is something that cannot come undone.
But I still thought about the grains
of black tea
the slivers floating at the bottom of my cup
like little strands of DNA
Coming apart and together like the cells in my fingertips,
the length of my hair
to make someone new.
and I tried not to think of her dead
but you know I did.
If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have thought so hard
about the air in my damaged lungs
and the heavy crown that is this truth.
I am cleaved, split in two
the sloughing off of yesterday
and the recreation of tomorrow.
20 hours ago