She doesn’t know how
to be a dog, my stepdaughter tells us,
of her own wild child, bristled fur
behind her chewed up window blinds,
and I think, but do not say,
I don’t know how
to be your mother, though I try
to remember
me at twenty-six, impossible
to be both woman
and daughter, blindly
battering the walls, searching
for the limits of my own parents’ love.
There is so much I do not know,
or say, now that I am
nobody’s daughter.
I have forgotten
all the wrongs I could never
forgive them, and am still
too blind to see the wounds
I surely have afflicted,
mother only to another
mother’s child.