If the table’s edge were not there,
she would have caught herself with her
hands, and I could have picked her up
and kissed her sore palms. If her foot
hadn’t twisted and turned her
body as she looked the other way, she
would have walked over to her brother
and joined him playing. If I had carried
her on my hip from outside, asked her
what she wanted inside, I would have
felt the warm quiet rush of her heart
and seen the clearness of her baby face.
What happened is written on her face,
the deep purple streaks of bruise,
the black eye, the swelling that comes on
with tears and doesn’t disappear.