A Girl Who Was Born Without a Mother
Title of a painting by Francis Picabia
She could be progeny from another
universe where metal coalesced
with blood and salt—she emerges
with a scattering of nails and rust,
chewing gum and baby hair.
She’s a riddle, a koan, one hand
waving hello and the other
hand drumming fingertips on a table top,
flipping cards, red on black
and black over red. She spins in place
for Dada, her twentieth century fathers:
Francis, Tristan, Marcel,
ragpickers in the war-torn afterbirth,
chanting “Everything is art” for art is nothing:
stacked urinals and broken chairs,
alarm clocks and comic strips.
All the while, this muse, motherless
houri, Dada’s amuse-bouche in shades
of dun, descends the stairs, nodding yes
but mouthing no—no, no,
I have another hand to play.