If your eyes were like tea leaves
instead of roasted coffee beans, oily brown,
thick with residue, or like grains of corn pollen
Native Americans used as blessings,
silken light — I might read them.
I might know where
you were those first few days
after knobby midwife palms
caught your crinkled body, after
your birth mother’s unshakeable hands
I search the adoption papers for clues.
Translated from Spanish spaces grow
between words, words lose
sense, the way glitter flakes
from your fairy princess wand, trailing
no discernible pattern.
And when your body quivers, sensing
a faint felt memory, traceable as
Braille, the raised bumps circling
a mother’s aureole, or lips filled with warm
milk, the almost unendurable sweetness —
I want to shake loose a story,
rattle my stick of bones
and teeth, and return from the Other World
with a cloth monkey, a bag of herbs,
something without holes.