The child on the Upper West Side
has your hair, my freckled skin.
He stands there on the wrong sidewalk
his hand gripped by the wrong father.
And I, paralyzed at the curb,
do nothing to stop him.
Just yesterday he looked up at me
from across the kitchen table,
appearing, even, in the rearview mirror
as I drive you to work-
drool soaked thumb,
stuffed bear tucked under his chin.
The simple things haunt me:
climbing from the tub, hair
trailing streams of soapy water
as he disappears in the towel I hold open.
I clutch these scenes in passing, moments
lifted from the comfort of strollers
so that when we make love
I imagine I have a womb,
that incomprehensible pear-shaped hole
for you to enter and pull from its depths
the son we will never have.
(Originally published in Feminist Studies, 2005)