year two

(from a poem for a daughter)

Why does a mother need a daughter?

Heart’s needle, hostage to fortune,

freedom’s end. Yet nothing’s more perfect

than that bleating, razor-shaped cry

that delivers a mother to her baby.

The bloodcord snaps that held

their sphere together. The child,

tiny and alone, creates the mother.

A woman’s life is her own

until it is taken away

by a first particular cry.

Then she is not alone

but part of the premises

of everything there is:

a time, a tribe, a war.

When we belong to the world

we become what we are.

(Anne Stevenson Poems 1955 – 2005)