A wandering albatross is born
to a storm, breathed
from the lung of sky.
No memory of mine is pinned
by photograph, I was not a baby,
I do not know my young face.
Salt and stone, the plumage
of ocean and cloud, the crook
of a beak, the meek forgotten.
Perhaps I was never a child,
as if I had not existed then at all,
and sprung into being as an adult.
Does a chick remember its nest,
or first, faltered flight, absent
of reference, of measure of time?
I did not ask my mother why
there were no pictures of me anywhere -
I both knew and feared the answer.
On an outcrop, she roosts
upon a moon, eyes the blue
dominion, feathered in awe.
I, though born to starch and bleach;
a cold ward, must have smelled the brine
in waves that lapped at the hospital's shore.
A wandering albatross can live for decades,
but how does she know? Head bowed
seaward, to the shadow of her own reflection.
And my shame lies in the question,
the impossibility of a reply of, this is me
when, or this is me at eight or ten.
Image is from here: https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bul02BirdP040.jpg