Issue Twenty-Five - Winter 2015

In the Bassinet

By Elya Braden

At Gymboree,
	my daughter plays
		with a funny girl.
Drunken feet.
	Listing head.
		Stuttering eyes.
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.