Some time in 1949
I bit another baby
each mother snatched up her child
and words were exchanged--
"Oh, nonsense, Cora," said Mama
(telling grown-up me the story)
"you can’t even see the tooth marks"
Rosalie, a middle-aged daughter
is called into my office 
to hear the news about her mother:
"The cancer’s back, it’s in her liver"
She’ll tell her brother
after Christmas we’ll all tell Cora

Could it be the same Cora,
Rosalie the small dark baby
who yanked my golden curls?
Each is the right age

Rosalie leans back
against the nutrition poster
she can’t clutch her mother and howl
as my words bite into her

—Kirsten Emmott


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Photo: Jane Weitzel / Illustration: Bev Leech
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