Studies of the Foetus in the Womb

by Dorothy Yamamoto

Once we were like that.
 
Once we were folded
in on ourselves
thumb to eyelid, toes to thigh,
 
life humming to us
through its soft powerful rope.
 
Later we straightened out,
taught all our parts their places
 
only going back
in grief or in dreams –
 
as my great-grandfather dies
in his village in Japan
 
his daughter running from her bath
but missing the moment, his wife
 
lifting his knees to his chest
after shaving him for the last time.