I still wake weeping after dreams
of my grandmothers

wonder if they would like my small dog
what they would say to the cat.

Don’t ask me how the dog knows
each time I wake regardless
of my body’s tendency to set hard when I think
no daughter of mine shall weep for me.

Fur fills my lungs til my own breath

Breathing is a costly act/
I wish to return
to sleep.

My black-haired grandma didn’t want to be a bother
when she felt the water rising in her lungs.

My mother’s mother went into the earth in her nest
leopard self.

I want to build a boat
a body
large enough to carry us all

these days these waters not fit for wading,
this mud hungers
for our living.

The blood stops
in my veins
aware of every other body at rest
and my threat to that state
of ease.

I would sooner let every particle of dust
all the dirt and salty water
seal every opening

sooner let the fluid petrify / in
my womb than risk
awaking others, but already

arnat qutmi et’ut¹
imat kuingtut²

we, the break in time —




¹ The women are at the beach.
² The waters are walking.


“LETTER TO THE DAUGHTER I WOULD HAVE LIKED TO HAVE” is featured in Issue 3.44 (Summer 2021). To read more from Abigail Chabitnoy and our other 3.44 contributors purchase a copy of the issue here or subscribe today to receive this issue plus two more delivered to your door!

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