My Father's Rib

Angela Narciso Torres


I was born with one rib
   missing. My father
was born with one too many.

Sometimes my fingers
   drift to that inch-wide gap
beneath my breast and I imagine

how my father must have felt
   his newborn for the missing
part. Did he wonder why a rib

and not a toe, a finger—
   an ear, perhaps?
Why that curve of cartilage
and bone, one of twelve pairs
   guarding the pink
balloons of lungs, the liver,

the chambered heart?
   In the story Hebrews tell,
Eve was made from Adam’s

tsela, or side. Did God take
   not just bone, but flesh
as well? And if my father

had the power then, would he
   have torn it—rib, skin,
sinew, blood, and all—
pressed it to the new
   life sleeping there  
to close her cage of bones?