One day at the library, I open a volume on

The seventeenth century.

There’s a glossy-paged portrait,

A woman bereft, an infant limp to her chest.

I wish I could take her the medicine

That would save her child’s life,

That would let her live for the next one’ birth.

Then perhaps she would let me sit at her hearth,

Both of us unaware of anatomy

And the ways our bodies stray,

Me unpossessed of the box in my chest,

Someone who can run into the cold sea

Without a shock.