You—who are kin to all clans;
You—who called the rain we’ve been drowning in for eons;
did you flinch to find a shard of self
split off—a passing thought
unhidden? Did it feel forbidden?
Or was it like the stone you raised
between your hands, and—gauging its weight against your son’s—
tossed it into a river?
Are we the mist upon your arms?
Why do I assume you’re female?
Your friends will look away;
your dog will sniff and walk—one paw
unstuck from mud—into a clearing you’re on the cusp of naming.
They will return.
They’re newer to this brand of shaming.
And listening grows more slowly
still—like a snowbank in a winter evening—
as crowds form in twos or tens
to coin a word that’ll pass through us
like a mating or mourning.