Alone in a Cabin I Think of What Led Me Here

By: Ayesha Asad

Was it the way the leaves fell,
streamlined, as I burst
bawling onto greenery,

or the first time sunlight peeked
through dark branches overhead—

or the reddish-purple skin
stretched over my sleeping body,
surrounded by fluid? What phantom

snaked around me, whispering
which light I would swallow
until it hardened like a beam

in my chest, which dreams
would become my luminaries
as each season grew hotter.

Warm rain, sweet on
my infant tongue—could that
have been a sign. A hot palm

canoed against the valleys
of my own. Cold warbling

through my pores. The way I inhaled
the smell of old books
from garage sales, or how I listened

to the songbird when it caroled
from its own little tree.

My fingers, stretching, outlined dark
against the sky. The curve of my rib
above my heart. Movie nights

with my father, the screen a flash
of bright lodestar. None of these
I can diagnose as the stars

that sculpted me, rained me
clean as a white sheet,

left me waiting to ask
why I breathe the same way.