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I pray for you, even now
     For Meghanne and the wee one
by Emilie Rommel Shimkus

My sister
s blood is hungry.
It clings to life you never asked for
and maybe wouldn’t miss.
Her blood is thicker
than water is pure.

My sister does not pray;
she lives these months as fervent intercession.
Her hands are busy with welcome,
her body, prepared,

My sister sails through city blocks.
Borne aloft
on tattooed calves,
the faded
-ink phoenix swells
with errands and mercy.

My sister measures space, makes room.
My sister follows directions. She lays
her Newports down.

My sister's body gives and gives.
Her blood withholds her charity, slows her gifts.
One breath, held far from lungs,
eyelash, dimpled wrist—
her jealous blood congeals, holds fast
the smallest
movements: to bend,
to reach.

Our blood, our most human part,
is harsh
a history half-shared, unspoken,
remembers ailment and sorrow, the sins
of senseless grandmothers.

Our blood keeps count of madness and ills.
It does not forgive
your weight within her.

But see the woman’s willing work!
There is no end of welcome here.
And in her warm and wanting center
your wrist is reaching, bends.


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