The First Person

J. D. Schraffenberger

BPR 39 | 2012

Winner of the 2012 Collins Prize

for Mitochondrial Eve

Whatever breed, whatever formal or informal
arrangement of gestures of face, however
many fingers or hands might reach, or lips,
the size of the holes of her eyes and nose,
whatever words or uttered sound, whatever
likeness unto each, whatever birth and forgetting
where old rivers go or once went, whatever
taste of whatever blood still coiling inside,
whoever you have to fool, bribe, cheat, kill,

find her and tell her something grave again
has happened, here the last nerve, angle of repose,
tell her we'll be waiting up all night on the roof
listening in the dark for the light of her voice and
what to do, what to do now, what to do, what to do.