When I came alive in the crosshairs
of my parents' lovemaking, an egg and sperm
comingling one June evening in 1962,
prisoners escaped from Alcatraz island.
Into their beds they put decoy heads
made of soap, toilet paper, and real hair,
so the guards wouldn't notice they'd gone.
The first grains of my spine's island chain
uncoiled from the deep, and the prisoners
crawled through the ventilation shaft
and onto the roof, then down and through
the scotch broom and ice plant to the rubber raft
they'd stashed at the shore; they took turns
inflating, huffing and puffing, before they
disappeared inside the waves' cold rooms
in the San Francisco Bay. Months later,
my father bent to speak to me through
the stretched skin of my mother's belly.
He jingled the vodka and ice in his glass.
I hunched beneath the rafters of my mother's ribs
while a siren swelled in the distance,
then more sirens, a flock swirling and calling.
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