To My Sister’s Unborn Child

by Katie Wade

If you come, come quietly. Sounds of partial sunlight,
fall, leaves slipping.
Be mindful of the space you’ve left,
no longer an ally.

Let her cry. There is a sting
in the splitting of worlds,
a heartbeat she protected with her thick skin,
two hands running up and down,
searching for the shape of you.
The world of separation: you, floating through
reeds in a wicker basket,
a hollow mother who has never met the Pharaoh,
nights, breathing her isolation.

She feels you holding on.
It is the tonic she needs,
involuntary desertion.
The idea will soothe her in those last moments
when you leave, curious of the world.

She will miss these days most.
The two of you by the window,
your warm cheeks,
eyes folded shut, the timid prayers of your palms
still cradled inside her.