_From ‘The Cassandra Poems’_
Before birth Cassandra remembers
warmth, how fluid in the ody.
There is no light, no awareness
she has eyes. After, everything
is light and warmth is lost,
becomes something that must be
sought new each day. A young child,
Cassandra stands near her mother, so near
she can feel the heat rising from her body.
_Hecuba’s lap is the best place in the world ever._
The child kneels behind her mother on the bed,
wields a brush, brings it down on her mother’s
head over and over. Find the white ones
her mother says, find the white among the red
and I will give you a coin for each one you pull
out. A shine of red, treasure hunt, small palm
full of coins. Then, bathtime and the water feels like
love. I remember this, says Cassandra, the warm
liquid a lullaby against her body. Remember what?
All this–water falls from fingertips, makes a sound
like small bells–how it was inside you and so was I.
Oh you are a strange child, says Hecuba, armed with soap.
fn0. Winner, Diana Brebner Prize 2006
_Arc_ 57, Winter 2006