Eider Duck

Callan Foster


My mother had nowhere to put her grief but when she
looked at me she thought good enough.

Like the snapdragons that sprouted pink and yellow behind our porch
she pinched my cheeks and opened my mouth

spoon feeding her trauma. She mixed it with the vegetable medley.
It sat shining next to the cubed carrots, the lima beans.

I remember how it felt when it settled.

Hunger is inherited. My grandmother was still a child when she was first called mother,
the baby girl gumming at breasts that grew in just a week before.

I hold my hunger like a child. Scrub the grass stains from her jeans.
Tuck her into bed. So much of myself

never belonged to me. Second-hand limbs. Hand-me-down liver.
I want to stop biting my nails and calling that a meal.

Let me lick my lips at something other than my own flesh.





Callan Foster is a lesbian poet and high school librarian. She lives in Seattle with her cat, Ralph.