my mind is a desert—a holy land with uncertainties
where someone left alone can finally find nirvana of some kind.
my sister went from four to seven in an hour: about an hour or so
they're saying—they being my sister and cousin, seasoned veterans
in the world of childbirth: they both encouraged my sister
to get a needle jammed in her spine. i remember you saying
that you would never do such a thing, and i would be there
whatever you decided; we've been over this: i don't get much of a say
when it comes to your womanhood—whether we wanted it or not
i don't get to choose. i imagine what you would be like
in the hospital bed, i remember you told me you remember your birth
but i was too much in a haze. my sister flips through a magazine:
Lindsay Lohan is only twenty-four, only about two years older than i
yet she is in prison. my family is discussing the father of the child,
what we would say to him if he bothered to show his face here—
all i saw were his feet from the other end of the hall. he's bigger than i,
stronger than i, i've got speed on him but that's not much when he's got you by the neck.
my cousins are coming, prepared to defend what little family honor we have left.
it would be just you and me, i promise.
they now discuss custody, how no man can take their kids away
and how my mother has lawyers all over this town to take on any case.
i'm Israel's godfather and i could not take him.
i can't remember if i asked you if you would want to take him with me
if something terrible happened. part of me always imagined him with us
in New York somewhere, even just for a visit.
now i just want you to visit.