i found something one day
in a little paper packet,
in a box of old pictures and faded clothes.
if was dried and shriveled,
no bigger than an inch,
no marking on the paper
besides the date of my birthday:
when i asked my mom what it was
she gave me a small smile
and took the curled, hardened thing from me
with reverent, thoughtful fingers.
she told me it was a piece of my umbilical cord,
once thicker and full
of blood and nutrient,
now dried and shriveled,
no bigger than an inch.
(young and foolish)
i asked her why she'd keep something like that,
something so biological,
"it was inside you, mom,
perhaps it was the wrong thing to say,
but she just smiled and told me
"i thought you might like it,
to remember you and i were connected once."
i couldn't tell if it was a reminder for me or for her.