If you had been there,
In the shadowland of childbirth
between life and death,
Holding her hand through the blood and the tears
As she brought forth your seed-
Would you have stayed?
If you had gazed a little longer
Into the innocent slate of my soul
When you finally did come ‘round
To count fingers and toes-
Would it have moved you?
Would you have given me your name?
If I had wrapped my fingers around your thumb
Your smile, slightly crooked, and crooning
Would you have taught me your songs?
Would you have made room for me on your knee?
With the others?
I found you too late.
Too late to ask you face to face.
To gaze into your eyes to see my own,
To hear your voice
To understand my place in your life.
Would you have told me the truth?
If I had found you,
Just a little sooner-
Would I know the smell of your cologne-?
The weight of your walk,
The sound of your voice?
Was your favorite color green?
Did you dream of Ireland?
Did you dream?
I think you would have liked me
Loved me even.
If only we’d been given the chance to try.
Father Unknown is what it says on my Birth Certificate,
Next to two tiny inked foot prints
And the name of the man who wielded forceps
ripping me from the womb.
She was too proud to be unwanted,
She thought she could be enough
For the both of us.
But the siren song of belonging
Pulled me to the cliffs
Desperate for the sight of you.
Always on the horizon of my questions,
My penny fountain wish-
If only I could reach you.
You were lost to me.
Lost until spit in a jar and DNA code
Became the lighthouse.
When I least expected it,
When life was barely breathable and all was lost
When the foundation was smoldering
And the roots exposed,
She found me.
This sister of blood and pain
Led me to the cliff walls
Tracing for me the hieroglyphics of your presence,
Teaching me you.
In her smile, in his voice, in their laughter.
The family you left behind is my inheritance-
Maybe it is better this way.
You left me the best of you.
A treasury of discovery
As I look for you, in them,
You, in me,
As I look, I find I am a little less lost
A little less undone.
As I look at them,
I am finding you.
©Christina Dammerman 2017