Dura Mater

by Emily McGrath-Ho

If it weren’t for the way my mother split her apples
 (seed starred, then flesh dug out to
 perfect halves)
I would never have known how to throw myself at the knife—

How to thumb the rise of my own daughter’s wrist
The same handled way my mother gripped my arm
Guiding the zipper of my navel
Spilling my seed starred flesh
Firm and bursting
Into waiting hands.

First daughter of a first daughter
These are your mothers—
This is how we split the flesh to perfect halves, child,
as though we were godjesus,
as though you were the star shaped holes in our hands
giving us the right.

Emily McGrath-Ho isn’t impressed by your stuffed animal collection and is embarrassed that you even mentioned it. In her spare time she chews gum in front of the dollar store across the street and brings home IcyHot on a regular basis. She square-dances. She sunburns. She knows what you’re thinking and isn’t impressed.