First Born

You slipped from my womb as sandpaper slips over
Raw wood, the sight of you numbing me
(you were not the only young one)
A stranger taking up my life, as easily as
I take up a dinner plate.

Your arms and feet waved franticly, and oh
your oval mouth, even in my sleep I saw
your quivering tongue, thick,
Purple pink like the inside of a plum.

When you became ill, I leaned against the rail of
The cold chrome hospital crib, part of me
Wanting to pull you back up inside of me,
The other part wheeling over my flattened
Stomach, remembering my red high heel shoes.

For years, we and poverty were all we had,
Your tiny hands and feet
Reminding me of the man that got away.
You wanted to be me, you played in
My red high heels and looked like
A circus clown on stilts.

We grew together, me setting examples;
Do not do what I do.
Yet now, as if we shared the same womb,
I watch you come up
The driveway, get out of your car and
When you lift your baby in
Your arms, I know you are like that
damned apple that falls
Very close to the tree.