You were born without a name
clothes handed down with sweat stains
not your own imposter
never seen
by false doubles who called you their child
you were nothing and you were everything
an unglued magic lifting off an empty table
set for nobody
you slept in the rafters of your ancestors
unable to articulate their absence
I recall the jars you had by your bedside
each one contained a scream
you stoppered and kept private
at night’s fall as we lay
watching bare branches flick in and out of
wan street light
illuminated shadows dancing
like anorexic girls inspecting themselves
this way and that, before elongated mirror
you would breathe out
and with your breath came a color
violet and sorrowful
like an instrument kept in velvet case
presses just enough to leave a trace
of the sheen in its wood
no matter how deeply I moved in you
lighting your emptiness with whispers
your anchor never reached the bottom
choosing instead oblivion
not staying long enough for choice
as cast off children know only too well
the fragment of life
spilt before their awareness matured
sitting in a full room alone
rubbing the soft worn cotton of a shirt
bought for someone else