after Emily O’Neill


the  body  birthed in blood,  or else bathed / in cool water.  the basin of a sink filled, then mirrored /

nearly two  decades later. / the hand a cup holding / a body, a baby,  a life / contained. / the mirror

a maze of  wires / one ring / a baptism of fire / at least steam. / the first baptism, a second mirror /

split in the middle / the first decade. a dress / a gown.  unremembered / the hand a cup holding /

hair, the base of the  skull / let  slowly down/ in the  basin  or  else / space  enough  for a coffin / to

be  lowered  into / instead,  a  body / first one,  then  two / chlorine blue, lungs  held / the shortest

while / eyes  dripping  / lashes wet / no  tears,  no real / memory. until  the mirror / the base of the

skull / levered against concrete / the fact of birth unforgotten / the burden of life made clear / the

one  who   brought  you  fled / half  of   the  creative  force /  faltered.  what  it  takes  to  get  born /

unknown, not  uncared  for / secrets  spill no  matter how insulated / mirrors shatter with the length

of  sight / a  prism  of  light  sent / splintering / a  reminder  of  life / gone  missing / the  basins  all

emptied,   forgotten / a   ring / of   mold  circling  the  drain / what  reflex  was  killed? cover / flesh

heated then chilled  in  defense / of living / did you see me & want / a daughter? i cannot bring her


BEE LB is an array of letters, bound to impulse; a writer creating delicate connections. they have called any number of places home; currently, a single yellow wall in Michigan. they have been published in Revolute Lit, After the Pause, and Roanoke Review, among others. they are the 2022 winner of FOLIO’s Editor’s Prize for Poetry as well as the Bea Gonzalez Prize for Poetry. they are a poetry reader for Capsule Stories. their portfolio can be found at