(newborn)

by Ellora Sutton

after Clare Pollard

She rises out of me like the sun, my daughter,
casting everything raw. I sip cochineal soup,
chew the New York Times bestseller bought
by a friend who doesn’t know I’ve read it twice.
A papercut c-sections my thumb. The Guardian
thrums with a new Atlantis. She brays, my calf,
her pink fists balled to boxing gloves. I falter.
I rest my finger under her nose, checking for asthma
or anaphylaxis. Year after year

weighs eight pounds in my arms. Brief,
I smell the smell that made me sick wrestling with the front door.

First night. Rocking chair. Like a spider, I climb out the window
and bury my old skin under the hazel tree. I smash the gravy boat
which sailed the long matriarchal lines of my palms. I dream
I give my baby a made-up name and tell strangers it means coast

or, more literally, immolation. I keep an eye on the east
for the knife of the sun. In my dream, I level
the shed and build an underground bunker in case of a flood
or dead crows. The television spurts white noise, a nuclear winter,
I hold out my finger. I want my baby’s breathing to break the bone.