One Geography of Belonging

By Kayleb Rae Candrilli

                                    After Ocean Vuong

What becomes of the girl
no longer a girl? Dearest Mother,

the stretch marks from my once-breasts
have migrated

to their new tectonic flats.
But you can always find hints

of what used to be. Trust me,
it is more beautiful

this way, to look closely
at my body and name it things like:

                Pangea & history & so, so warm.

Look at me now
and see how blood

faithfully takes the shape
of its body,

never asking
too many questions.

Dearest Mother, how many rivers
did I run across your belly?

Do you love
that they will never dry up?

Mother, I’ll make all
this water worth it.


Kayleb Rae Candrilli, “One Geography of Belonging” from Water I Won’t Touch. Copyright © 2021 by Kayleb Rae Candrilli. Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Copper Canyon Press, All rights reserved.