It's all lost forever now.
I wonder if she was in pain after sending me away,
her breasts filled with milk,
aching and full and swollen,
leaking out the nipples.
She waited a month before signing the release papers.
I wonder during that time,
those 30 simple days,
if she walked in a grocery store
and saw a baby in her mother's arms and cried?
I wonder if she heard the baby cry
and felt that sudden rushing swoosh of lactation
of milk swelling the milk ducts throughout her breasts
in nature's ancient response to all babies' cries?
I wonder if she told her mother I hate you for making me do this
and then secretly lay in her high school bed feeling relieved?
I wonder if the baby she rushed to have two years later
Ever filled that void?
If my sibling coming forth
Could withstand the pressure
Of her grim and secret wanting and anger
A tight little ball knotted at the seat of her soul
Unacknowledged and unremarked upon
Named Catherine Ann.
How did my sister or my brother handle the dull aching knowledge
Of never being good enough and never knowing why?
We have so much more in common than DNA.
And if I found her now
Sought her out after all this time
She would be in a small town outside Boston
On the south eastern side of the city
Married to a blue collar worker
Or middle manager for an insurance company
A quiet, steeled woman
With a penchant for pulling her hair back tightly and not coloring it.
Would she be that way?
Her way of holding out against the Catholic repression,
the domination of her parents’ generation’s will,
would be to close herself off
from the daydreaming of sixties hippy love children born in the back of a VW van
On the side of route 66
That small stocky boy she loved back then by her side,
to tune in, turn on and drop out of her own existence
leaving this shell behind a zombie parading as a human being?
Now she would hate him
Never got over him
Never forgave him
He should have taken her away and married her
He was weak and unstable
Full of big words too long for his penis.
Or would she be instead a brittle reinvented version of who she might have been
had she gone to college somewhere
other than the community college she was consigned to?
the purgatory she earned for her fall from grace.
(Is my face like her face?)
She could be a real estate agent now,
divorced, starting over,
her hair dyed an auburn tinged brunette
meant to recall the original natural color
but add a little extra, you know, just for fun, for a Saturday night.
She reinvents herself,
unrecognizing of the fact that she brings herself back,
back to the day before she learned about the baby,
back to being 16
and full of pep
and the inability to see
beyond Saturday night.
Her children grown and moved on
Loving but distant, their mother always somehow unapproachable
Her large bosom never inviting, a distance always in her eyes.
They live nearby
With families of their own
And everyone gathers in the backyard of one or another’s home on the Fourth of July and barbecues hotdogs and hamburgers
Grilling the buns
The squirty juice bursting out into your mouth
from that first bite through the toasted shell
and the soft bread
to meat inside
her grandchildren running around the yard in swimsuits
slipping and sliding under the sprinkler.
She drinks the margaritas made for her in large plastic tumblers
Mixed from Tequila and LimeAde
Plastic, pastel colored ice blocks in the shape of flamingoes and sun bursts float at the top
As she pretends that she doesn’t ever think about me.