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What is less real than the daughters I dreamed,
With their terrible, Homeric names, Mare
And Nightmare, how are they any less real
Than the daughters I never conceived, the months
Of bleeding when anything else was impossible,
The months when I waited to see if I was not alone?
None of them have the thingness of anyone in Heorot,
Where even the darkness had the weight of a child
Sitting in your lap, fur and wool and honey
All wrested from the living of the earth; swans
Might be the form they would take if they chose
For themselves, beautiful, ready to attack me
As I walk along the littered shore of the small creek
I grew up beside. I have coaxed into being sisters
Who will look at each other instead of at me, converse
As trees do, their roots tongued, philosophical and petty
About the company of sightless moles and winter ants.
Who is not fascinated by her own face reflected, refracted
In mirrored mirrors, in what she cannot remember
Of the night? She is sure it meant something,
The way a key does or a tooth, shed, kept, buried, biting.

Daisy Bassen is a poet and practicing physician. Born and raised in New York, she lives in Rhode Island with her family. Her house is littered with tea-cups.