I’m asking her to live
without me, & she knows it.

- from Time, by Zeina Hashem Beck

I thought I might not bleed
this month.

I cried in the shower, thinking of the babies
I didn’t want to birth.

My breasts felt like I could succeed
at nursing, they were so swollen,
pained by the falling water.

But they were empty.
And then I bled.

And you, ankles showing,
on the precipice
                          of walking away.

I nursed you in a hospital room
high over a circle of city streets.

And then you learned to feed yourself.
Now we don’t even notice
when you lift your fork to your mouth.

I watercolor us, mother, child,
centered. So is the open window,
that distant horizon.

                How do I face my passing
as you emerge
like your first words, then sentences?

Your whole language
                always our vanishing point.

Chloe Yelena Miller

Chloe Yelena Miller’s poetry collection, Viable, was published by Lily Poetry Review Books (2021) and her poetry chapbook, Unrest, was published by Finishing Line Press (2013). Miller is a recipient of three DC Arts and Humanities Fellowship (Individuals) grants. She teaches writing at American University, and Politics & Prose Bookstore, as well as privately. Miller is the co-founder of Brown Bag Lit; she teaches and organizes events for them. Contact her and read some of her work at www.chloeyelenamiller.com.

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