Blank Slate

by Megan Merchant

The child, up all night, 
won’t take my breast.

Hours crawl blankly, 
or kaleidoscope and blur.

The world we share is 
patient, leans into softened 
wool we stretch 
long to dry.

I pick from a basket 
of tangerine moons, soak the peels in tea,
rub the warm sweetness along his spine,

pile little graves of coffee grounds 
for the day-garden,

and pinch grains of sugar 
between lips 
to starve off sleep.

His cry nips the insides of 
my cheeks,

makes the continuous static
wince,

and I think he aches for the 
close-tapestry of the old world.

I call my own mom, ask
how can I make him whole?

The first born is a gift, 
she says, to pay you back

for the ways you’ve ruined 
all the things you’ve loved.

The second is there to salvage what’s left.

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