I Think I Was Never Born

I think I was never born.
My hands are a man’s whose body
escaped Vietnam, but whose
soul was eaten by a war.
I watch these hands dip
a rag in bleach to scrub away
a face of imperfections,
a face that is not mine,
but a man’s who was scalded
by the hot palms of a red-headed woman
who watched her husband
tie off his neck and give it to his son,

and now my daughter is not mine,
and her smile is not her own,
but of a woman who would have
drowned me in her breasts
had I been born,

and I watch her with
eyes that seem to be my own, but
crinkle like the skin of
a man who shrunk himself enough
to fit inside a bottle of Rum
and swim for forty years,

and I was not born, but I remember seeing
these hands wrapped around me,
and this face smiling,
and this blue eyes crinkling,

and all of these dying before
I could have been born.

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17 thoughts on “I Think I Was Never Born

  1. All the different influences and events of past that accumulate before we are even born – and how they can feel like they’re smothering who we are in our own right. I love all the different hints of diverse characters and histories in this piece Maggie. It’s terribly sad, but very beautiful.

  2. You touched a place of torment for me with this one. Well done. I’m going to take a break now. This piece of yours needs revisiting.
    ~Chris

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