Birthday Poem

~for my sister and my mother

Today is my sister’s birthday
and I am thinking about how she
was the last one of us to be born to my parents.

She came thirteen months after I did
and I do not remember her arrival.
I like to think it was like today,
clear beautiful blue skies
stretching out before us.
Leaves just starting to be touched by fall.
A whisper of a breeze every few minutes.

I do remember when she became a mother.
I was there as she gave birth to her daughter.
It was nighttime and the sky,
though still endless,
was speckled with stars.
Her body bears no reminder
of carrying that child.
Right after her daughter was born,
her swollen belly shrunk back,
skin smooth as it was before she ever carried a child.

When I became a mother
my body would not let me forget.
My skin is still striped from where he stretched me.
He is becoming a teen
and still I can feel the places
where my skin was not enough for both of us.

This makes me wonder about our mother’s body.
Was it marked by four babies in three years?
What did her belly look like after that?
Did she look at herself and see us?

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