Michele Wolf


When I was applying to become a mother,
The police kept scrutinizing my fingertips,
By ink, by computer—inspected them
Four times. Social workers grilled me
About my childhood, judged my parenting
Philosophy. My dossier ran fifty-eight pages long.

The whorls wear off if, day after day, you are
Sawing and sandpapering—smoothing out
you’re a musician plucking
Strings, a teller flicking through stacks
Of twenties, or an editor dedicated
To fine-tuning stories, fast-tapping a keyboard.

I no longer had fingerprints. With the passage
Of years, they had worn off onto the warm
Back of my husband while I was
Trying—so many times, repatching my
Heart so many times—to become a mom. 

Michele Wolf has published two books—Immersion (Hilary Tham Capital Collection, The Word Works, selected by Denise Duhamel) and Conversations During Sleep (Anhinga Prize for Poetry, Anhinga Press, selected by Peter Meinke)—and a chapbook, The Keeper of Light (Painted Bride Quarterly Poetry Chapbook Series, selected by J.T. Barbarese). Her poems have also appeared in Innisfree Poetry Journal, Poetry, Boulevard, North American Review, The Hudson Review, Poetry Daily, and Verse Daily. She is a contributing editor for Poet Lore and teaches at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Maryland.



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