Years before my womb became a home,
I was told stories of the death rattle,
that it sounds like air blown through a straw
at the bottom of a glass of water.
Now, when my 9 year old
becomes hungry for air,
I wish I’d never been told.
In a little while she’ll know only night.
There will be no more mornings.
My 9 year old is sick right to the bone.
We talk about the donation of her eyes,
the only part not crossed out.
She isn’t scared of not having eyes.
She is scared of fire.
She leaves us in November,
when the frost first lingers beyond morning.
There was no rattle,
only the smallest, slightest sigh,
like when I used to catch her reading
when she should have been sleeping.
They take the eyes of my first born,
quietly, without fuss.
We keep her for a week,
turn off the heating, leave all the windows open.
I stroke the weak cage of her ribs,
the orb of her head, kiss her moon pale mouth,
her lavender face.
I talk about how she had to fight to be here,
how she left my womb already a warrior.
It takes several men to break the earth
in the woodland, it takes one bird
to sing her home.