A gulch in the cliffs of Ischia,
Where a far-flung mother sparked life
From rubbed bones, worked alone
With blades of moon to carve
My pulse, my shell, the slit vessel
Of my heart. She spindled my umbilicus
From yarns of wasted babies, let the sea
Swell violence inside a crowded caul.
My birth a sudden slaughter,
A waxing scythe that tossed and heaved
Great waves, peeling my limbs
Of lochia; the waxy film of sleep.
My birth was murderous purging,
A spew to the swaddle of weeds.
Unknotted I drifted on the shift of sands
And tides that tried to smother me.