Saint Anne to Her Daughter

Rebecca Dunham

           Madonna and Saint Anne, Da Vinci

It will not work. He’ll never
fold back into you, body curled
tight, a kitten in sleep. He leans—
seems always to lean—away.
Everything you do pulls death, thick
& woolly, closer to your emptied 
flesh. There is room. Skin sags
your shrunken belly. Remember:

there is always room now
for death to clamber into your lap,
heavy as a child & bleating.
It’s in your weight on my legs. The last
prickings of sensation fade, numb
as when you first emerged, smudged
with blood & vernix. I knew:
the fingers tipped with blue.