I often imagine the moments after birth

when the base-layer programming defines attachments—

the what, how, and why of becoming,

whether the parents wear regret or delight.

I wonder if my mother scrunched her nose at her own blood

smeared across a little replicant with her eyes, stolen and full of fire.

I wonder if I flipped the umbilical cord around like a whip

proclaiming I will not be dominated;

and, when my father cupped my little skull in his palm,

if I smiled back or cried at the stink of bourbon;

if my mother counted my toes or shrugged because whatever was fine;

if she took her first sip of champagne before or after I was snatched away

to the baby microwave, to finish cooking because she was tired of being fat

and her womb was no place for a child;

and, when I came home, if I knew that less than two decades later,

I’d be snatched away by another man

cupping my heart, leaving stains on the backs of my eyes

no amount of trauma therapy can erase.

I wonder if I came out and thought: rats, I wasn’t aiming for this world!

If I sat inside the sterile uterine box and assumed it was my mother—

A big mustard-yellow light smiling down

While my mother pouted in the mirror.