Enigmatic as elbows
you are for me
like carrots and kale
purple-painted toes
and unswept slivers of glass —
small and overlooked
sharp as a morning mind.

I am here so you can learn to do for yourselves:
tenderly turn through books
hold a plate one hand on each side
your slight shoulders back
feet steady and slow
guiding with heels that base
not debase. Put your nose to my ear.

Let’s rehearse
those exquisite exhales
long and calm through the bends
of everyone else’s emotions
and it is work not to make it
all about us obsessed as we are with ourselves.
I know only what it is to be me —

rich in retrospection
in search of something
stronger than oxygen, two
and a half decades deep
in pineapple skin, adrift this
celestial toilet bowl, this plague, a page ripped
from the middle of a mother who meant well.

Ashley Trabue