She was raised when families
ate their shadows, washed down
blood with cold whole milk,
polite as folded napkins in a row.
I hear her swallow catch
when I ask her how she’s feeling,
her same old chirp it is what it is.
I clench my words even as I watch
her lose herself, a book stripped
of pages, a hollow cover.
It’s happening the way
it happened to her mother:
she will be unbound. Every page
will float down the river.
Published in The Sow's Ear Poetry Review