by Brandon McQuade
I dream in the bed you were conceived
of the barn swallows outside our door
their precarious nest-cup hanging from the corner
a handful of mud and sticks in the beams.
Inside, eggs are hatching
the chicks are finding themselves
their eyes and legs coming down to earth
like the post-coital search for clothes and towel.
I realize, with my ear against her navel
listening to your mother like the mouth of a seashell
that the moment I cut the umbilical cord
my hands are forever responsible for your separation—
your hand and mouth will reach for your mother’s breast
as the fledgling foot escapes the nest.