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How I Was Born

I think I began like the pig’s heart

beating in its tray, or the anemic rats.

A protein mesh was my mother,

and the zipper teeth of my DNA

came from powdered sugarcane.

When I was just one hundred fifty cells,

they plucked one out and carried it off

for a stranger with defective marrow.

“This won’t hurt,” they said.

I filled the space in anyhow.

I grew, I got the trick of breathing,

fed from an IV.

Learned to drink from a bottle.

Who knows if my origins explain

my fear of needles, my cravings for salty food,

enclosed warm spaces, pale young men with leukemia.

Full grown, I often suck my thumb.

That way I know it’s mine.

from Debt to the Bone-Eating SnotflowerFind it in the library

Copyright © 2013 Sarah Lindsay
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Copper Canyon Press.

Published in Poems Sarah Lindsay

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.