Widowed as a teen, then newly pregnant,
Due to a hurricane that crushed her uncle's car
and her new husband, who was underneath the fender.
Holding the jack, he'd tried to fix the tire.
And later, Minna, stunned and wrapped in blankets
the room sound blurred in the high school's gymnasium,
swore at the gods who still howled at the clapboards.
"I'll name him after Dan. He'll reincarnate."
But when the time came, she had borne a girl.
And not an easy birth by any measure.
A breech birth, with the cord wrapped round her neck.
Daniela she was called. She's a survivor.
All three of Minna's sisters had their own,
but her big brother came to town to help.
All through that autumn, winter, spring
She tried to find a life with her new baby,
who cried and kicked when Minna tried to sleep.
Breast feeding didn't work for her, and so
she needed formula, and wouldn't take it cold.
Minna spent hours loading and unloading
the diapers and the bibs. All food was ground
when she at last took solids. Cauliflower,
And cream of wheat were mostly what she ate,
and both of them were tasteless foods to Minna.
She wondered if she really was her child,
although she had to be. She sometimes doubted
if in that horrid night she had been swapped
and she was wandering somewhere by the stream,
while this ghost woman had her changeling child.
Daniela liked to pull things off the shelf.
She learned to walk by following the cat.
She didn't mind if all her toys were broken.
She grew to look for love, so hard to find
in her own mother. But she grew to love
the garden. Plants and vegetables grew
with her and she would play or watch the ants
while underneath the bean vines where the leaves
and fragrant blossoms summoned bees and flies.
And she would sleep there underneath them, tanned
and played out while her mother weeded.
When she was two, she was a ruddy girl.
She talked and asked her mother endless queries.
Once, when she had a fever, she cried out
"I see my daddy! See him?" Minna looked.
And putting down her head, near Daniela's,
A streak of light reflected in the window.