My mother said when she meditates, her soul abandons
the physical world. It’s like practicing
death every day. I wanted to go, too.
I was always looking for outlets. I wrenched
cords from sockets to feed.
She felt for me
between the bed and the wall.
I slid easily out. She held me up
by an arm and leg, birthed me from dust.
I believed in the hundreds of lives.
God was a beautiful man
who was deeply in love with me.
He said I know you’re only 7,
but you have an old soul.
He knew everything about me. He knew
what the backs of my knees smelled like.
I imagined all my past bodies cut out
and standing up in a row behind me
as he’d tug my T-shirt over my head.
I was never alone.
My mother and I stood in grocery aisles
examining the ingredients of everything with a label.
We had to keep animals out of our mouths.
She told me the soul chooses
the parents it will have in its next life.
It’s no accident then. She held my wrists above my head
to keep my nails from scratching me out
of my skin. It gave her something to do with her hands.
At night, I was allowed one story.
I opened Words Divine
and read This body is like a dream.