Stephanie Pippin

Falter

I try to imagine it: making her
make herself in the dark, spreading,
as she goes, my body to its limit.

I would be her raw material, pink
as marrow. She, a map of my heart
drawn with match heads.

Our story is old. It is quiet.
How we blend—Eucharistic,
a collusion of wills.

Even my voice is motherly.
I hear in it the scold-and-soothe echo
from childhood’s mixed bag.

And my eyes. Larger than ever.
I am a body of eyes,
not one of them closes.

This is my failure of vision:
her nursery lights, my natal stars,
melt like sugar on a gas ring.

So easy, our unmingling,
I barely notice how I lose,
on the periphery, color

by color, the scheme of her.
I only see this rabbit,
fresh-born, steaming in grass.

It shines like a yolk slipped
from shell to bowl. Radiant fact,
a hot lamp on my lawn,

it offers nothing. No milk, no lily,
just the thought of a baby
like touching a wound.

Stephanie Pippin’s poetry has appeared in Boston Review, AGNI, and Michigan Quarterly Review. Her book, The Messenger, won the 2012 Iowa Poetry Prize. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri.
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