my father’s eyes
my sister’s
look back at me in my child.
beneath the sea of turquoise blue
blots a black stain of surprise

surprise, a startled sinking in
of weighted words and children’s truths
kept simple; skirting why, and who.
I go in soft, but with fingers trembling
behind the mother’s mask is a learner surgeon

wounded too, her father stands
stoney-faced at the foot of her bed
vitriolic before, no doubt after
but not now, with cold beer clenched;
now I’m on my own. I come out with:

words you shouldn’t say
worlds you shouldn’t shatter
I hold tight to her little hand
knowing how much this matters

doing my best while doing my worst
founding fault lines through her life
setting her down on parallel paths
then claiming I had no choice-

she lets me hold her little hand
she understands, but doesn’t
and I throw stones into turquoise blue
I am guessing at the answers.