You can read more of Julies work at JulieREnszer.com
Julie R. Enszer photo credit CharlieTPhotography©2010
Julie R. Enszer
I am startled
by how much
Claire Danes looks
like you. She is
I study her
on the new TV
would you flip
your hair that way?
Would your laugh
reveal your teeth?
Would you have
her blend of
Most of all,
what music would
you be listening to?
I imagine scrolling
of songs, organized
by style and mood,
on your ipod
(an appliance you
did not live to see).
mixed tapes as a
I imagine musical
discoveries I might
find in your remastered
digital mix. My musical
tastes are pedestrian.
I take few risks.
I want to live.
Our Natural World
Forty-four years after you were in utero
we visit the woman who at thirteen
nurtured your body with her blood.
She labored more than twenty-four hours
for another woman to give you a home,
a family, but never the benefit of her breast.
For the first ten hours together, we sit
at the family table and swap stories
of lives lived apart. The next day,
we drive to the beach and scan the sand
for echinoid shells. We gather currency
we can never spend, then drive
to the state park in search of an Osprey nest.
We gaze at tree tops until we see the craggy
gathering of sharp sticks atop the tallest one.
Inside small birds. The mother scans
the seas for prey—fish, primarily,
but occasionally squirrels, lizards, even
house cats. She swoops down and
captures them with her long, spiny claws
then flies home to feed her young.
At the base of the trunk, beneath the nest,
are dried and broken bones, flesh
torn and sucked off, one life taken
to nourish another. There, in the Florida
sun, we marvel at the majesty of this natural
order as much as we are repulsed
by its remnants. Then, in her own act
of delayed maternal devotion,
your birthmother tells us, Osprey mate for life.
Above your cheekbone
to the side of your left eye.
I only look at it
when you are sleeping.
I imagine you as an
infant. How your mother
touched it gently while
you slept, lips pursed,
suckling, then as you do now,
when you drift off to sleep.
I imagine your mother
wondering, what pain
accompanied your birth?
When the forceps pinched
your skin, how long did you bleed
deep red blood? Who wiped
the wound clean? How long
did you carry the scab
before it disappeared like the past
leaving this small, faint scar?
Sometimes, I search to find
its exact place on your face.