Shell Myers, Me In Philly (physical and digital drawing)

My daughter paints grey
moons under my eyes all day.
I nearly tip her out

of the stroller. Her jaw
quivers. I want so many things.
What did my mother want?

I study her hands.
Her left pointer finger
curves in slightly.

My daughter sleeps in my
arms, light as a needle.
Her eyes, tiny almonds.

What did my mother regret?
Guilt, a tight ring I can’t take off.
At the zoo, the ostrich fixes

its lightbulb eyes on me.
My daughter kicks her legs
into the day’s particular light.

Her new eyes follow
leaf shadows in the wind.
Ostriches can’t fly.

If attacked, they kick
their knock-kneed legs to survive.
My widowed neighbor, Billie,

stares at my daughter, says,
To wake up and know someone
like that is waiting for you.


Emily Mohn-Slate