baby snaps a twig in half
unevenly cleaving two limbs

but before the operation is committed
she whittles them down to the bone

the two thighs of life
sprung from the soil

she lops off the leaves
like her mother wields razors

she peels away the skin
with a knife, gentle, no salve of amnesia

she trims off the meat
fed with nutrients over the years, now gone

the process takes several years
glossed and galvanized by silence

baby isn’t baby anymore,
when she’s got a knife in her fingers,

scraping onion skins for dinner,
officially an adult

gathering leftover wishbones
off the plates she laid out carefully before

sucking off dreamily the fragile remnants
biting till the blood flows

till she cleaves, even
the wish from the bone.

Artwork by Alexandre Cabanel, “The Birth of Venus”


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