In the Bassinet
By Elya Braden
my daughter plays
with a funny girl.
Her mother, quiet, gray-haired
sits on a folding chair
on the sidelines,
a bassinet at her feet.
Tucked inside a froth
of white eyelet, dark hair.
Pretty. Baby? Doll? I approach.
My foster daughters, she says.
Robin, she points toward the mat, is two.
And this is Becka, she says,
lifting the bassinet. I peek inside—
thick bangs, lush hair
a sunken face, eyes pinched shut.
Tiny waxen fingers.
Becka is four, she says.
Their parents kept them chained
behind the couch, threw them food scraps.
No one knows if she’ll wake up.
Only her hair and nails keep growing.