For Brigid, who lives in many places

Remember the burrow and your blind brothers
the day your slate gray eyes and ear canals opened
there were warm bodies around you, all fighting for the teat
all aware of the darkness and the mess, the way food spoiled on
the ground and the rumor light and snow.

One day when your nose was caked with the blood
of weak sibling, you realize why they break you open. Not just to feed
on you to make room for the strong but to be reborn. The others
are too small to understand but you know that someday
you will be broken open too, that a hand will reach into your body
and give you magic.

The burrow opens and you take your first cautious steps. The others,
whose rumps you’ve nipped, follow meekly behind, are also stunned
by the crisp scent of grass and unripe berries, the dung of a raccoon,
the body of a bisected mouse, the fungus sprouting on the edge
of the woods, in the shadow of a pine, where a circle of snow,
has been casually dropped…

like undergarments cast off before jumping into a pond
a backpack thrown behind the kitchen door
a girl fallen off her sled after it has struck the fence and her
life has begun to seep into the snow, drawing you closer
as your eyes shift from gray to amber and you remember
that you were the first to taste flesh, the first to forage,
the first to hear the crying and understand what it meant.