Jackie Craven

Darwin’s Daughter

~In the year 2120

She arrived during the floods—
a tiny, helpless thing,
eyelids fragile as tissue paper
crinkled above pinholes
where ears belonged.

So many babies born that way—
the hospitals in chaos,
beds floating down halls,
nurses fighting tears—
They tried to hide her from me.

Our rescue boat bobbed and lilted,
her blanket billowed in my arms—
Did she hear the snap of toothpick bridges,
see tinfoil cars glint and tumble?
I carried her to the prow.

The current swirled gray-green,
flecked with foam like cotton nubs,
helicopters buzzed and fluttered—
seasick sailors rocked and moaned—
There is no shore—

My blue, blue love—
my heart, my lungs, my soul—
One whiff of water and you knew
why your fingers fused into webs—
and how to swim away.


published in “Women’s Studies Quarterly, At Sea.”