Heís a good man.
I am laughing with nectarine in my teeth
when she says it.
Let me translate:
I should be grateful.  He must be a good man to take me.
my shriveled parts, my broken-down thumbs, my mutations
and drink of them.
She notices every finger as she examines
my great-grandmotherís engagement ring.
Her gaze strays to the inner arch
of my hand,
my thumb tender
without the weight of knuckles.
Her breath, sweet from milky tea, gasps at the sight
but not as much as to disturb
the necklace at her throat. My wrist
trembles as she realizes her thumb presses a scar
from my second surgery.
My smallest imperfection. Unnoticed before. Her long pause, Do you mind if I ask…?
I wind out the tale of my genetics.
Will you have children?
Always the next question
like a strangerís hand
on a pregnant belly.
Eyes shifting colors. Gray.
W.E.B Dubois writes of the veil
he bears his children into. The black veil. The darkness
of hate. He loves his child
but this is his gift to him.
My womb is such a veil. I could pass this on
like a beauty mark
or crooked teeth.
Then, she says it again, He must be a good man.
The urge to spit
in her face
to question the viability of my children
as if they were cars.
as telling the children I grew up with
A wild dog bit off my thumbs
and he is still about