Mail from My Pregnant Daughter
by John Steffler

copyright © 2010 by John Steffler

An envelope with your rounded printing. I take out
a card of Henri Rousseau’s Child with Doll
the stocky worried girl in a red dress, clutching
a worried doll, listening, knowing the whole
landscape is going to erupt through her, life
will depend on her –

                    then your twelve-week
ultrasound with its five night-blue images
framed in calibrations and ID.
I have albums tracing your quick expressions back
to your infancy, but here I’m looking at moonlight
falling into an excavated grave. Or is it
a distant galaxy? The small gathering bones
glow where faint light picks them out,
a constellation of vertebrae. Hubble
portrait. Reverse grave.

                    What a woman holds –
river of earth from the Milky Way, where we hatch,
to which we return. From my unwinding whorl I’m looking
through your night sky at forming stars.
Inside those I can almost see smaller stars.