Betsy Sholl’s “Geneology”

One of my parents was a flame, the other a rope.
One was a tire, the other a dial tone.

In the night I’d wake to a hum and the faint
smell of burnt rubber.

One of my parents was a flag, the other a shoe.

The ideogram tattooed on my lower back
is the one for dog trying to run on ice.

One of my parents was a star already gone out,
the other a cup I carried into the night,
convinced it was fragile.

One of my parents I drank, the other I dreamed.

In the revolving door of my becoming,
one pushed from inside, one from without.
Thus, my troubled birth, my endless stammer.

One was an eyebrow, the other a wink.
How they amused each other.

One was a candle, the other a bird. I was ashamed
of not burning, embarrassed I couldn’t fly.

I was a girl calling across the ice to a dog
she didn’t have.