Mummy Child

—After The Mummy Child Exhibit: Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

I long for the scrape of your crawl
down the hallway
where I’ll teach you about shadows—

how tiny finger claws can make
a swan’s beak on a blank wall. I long

to unravel you, free your resin-layered
flesh from thousands
of years of exile, slip my hand

through your raised rib cage to touch
the bloodless indent of almost feeling.

If I rock you in a baby’s cradle, rattle
your chest to check
for a distant pulse, swaddle your bones

in blankets until your veins fill up, will
soft black lashes blink, again? Forgive me

for my intentions, as I pump your limbs
back into the perpetual shape
of a child. Teach me, Child, the sting

of oxygen softening marbled lungs,
the smell of cries stumbling. Make me

believe, when early spring infects the snow
with steady ice-taps of rain,
my children, too, will live forever.