Lullaby with Daughter Cells; Given

Claire Wahmanholm

Lullaby with Daughter Cells

Embedded,      the sleeping body is ship and shipwreck, reef, fish den,
oyster nest,                    once my own anemone, once a wish,
transmission of ten thousand trillion divisions,            so almost infinite,
so infinitely far from it.
                                          Beneath the skin,      repetition churns
its whirls of fingerprints            and strands of future selves,
constructing endless daughters, endless spindles, endless paths
into the woods.
                           Sleep passes for safety,           but is only a curse’s deferral,
never its breaking.            Your body’s already a whir, was always
an engine, gendered and generative, her from the first. All I gave
you was a pair of points. Sleep between them  for as long as you can.


A point is that which has no part
      —Euclid, Elements, Book I

A given
is always

a point
of departure,

a puncture,
origin of

a wound,
some newness.

For example,
this given:

that points
are partless,

when really
they’re couple-

numbered, binary;
the way,

no matter
how fast

it flies,
a bluebird’s

blue can
never outstrip

its bird,
or butter

drain from
its cup,

rattle shed
its snake.

What would
it do,

that bird—
unblue, unselved,

blanched on
winter’s branch,

absent against
its white?

Without you,
I’m only

the idea
of flight.

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