after Evie Shockley

self portrait of a how-to

with this skin with these seams

of growth            your body your body

look at your body

my self that isn’t my body but is always my body but no self calls my body

with a home named

the best i could do            self portrait of a house

with middles of nights & a trashcan & putrid smell of human waste

                                        in every room

self portrait of this poem making room

bunk beds & fold-over suv seats & episiotomy without consent

to make room            & bodies always joined with mine

                                        one working

on her first set of teeth

while another works on his second while another

is so confused he tries to pull his out

before they’re ready            while another            while another

                           self portrait of a dream

that unsolicited comments

seasonally fall from trees            swept away

                           enough enough

i feed i clothe them enough self portrait

[army boots plaid skirt under-eye bags self portrait]

with knees of black lace as back-less i carry a crying bomb my frame

rough around edges & curves

self portrait of a son who crayons

eight bumper cars in twenty minutes            a cloudy afternoon yields mommy

one email reply two stanzas coffee reheated eleven times

[dust mite not shown            the mind]

self portrait of babies who aren’t babies but are my babies who wish to not be called babies

self portrait too spent for metaphors

or birds nesting in my mouth            maybe next season

november sweeps

daylight saving minute engineering

fontanelle protecting retina replenishing self portrait in bed

[shark sheets beanie babies candy wrappers maggots]

in a house

from which my lungs don’t filter out enough sour air self portrait

of the longest season swallowed            my body my body self portrait

rubbed all over

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