FOR MY PARENTS, WHO DISMISS COMMON SUPERSTITIONS ABOUT BIRTH ORDER


by Julie Platt

When my parents wanted to have a fight,
my mother pulled the pool tarp

over my sister and me and we sank slowly
into the groundwater. My sister snaked

between the sheets of clay in the flower beds,
pushing her skin through the petals

of geraniums, sunning herself. Sadly,
I never could flow that far south,

never could divide myself around the plugs
of ash roots and the blocks of chalk,

and I always found myself sloshing
in the hot water heater while my father

slammed my motherís skull against the pipes. Later,
my father would fill the bathroom sink,

strip off his underwear and scrub them fiercely
with green marbled soap. This is how I learned

to love so well with the taste
of my fatherís dick in my mouth.

This is how I learned to consider the lap
of loose and filmy shit I was born to bear.

This is how I learned to conceive it.