I believe the chicken before the egg though I believe in the egg. I believe eating is a form of touch carried to the bitter end; I believe chocolate is good for you; I believe I'm a lefty in a right-handed world, which does not make me gauche, or abnormal, or sinister. I believe "normal" is just a cycle on the washing machine; I believe the touch of hands has the power to heal, though nothing will ever fill this immeasurable hole in the center of my chest. I believe in kissing; I believe in mail; I believe in salt over the shoulder, a watched pot never boils, and if I sit by my mailbox waiting for the letter I want it will never arrive—not because of superstition, but because that's not how life works. I believe in work: phone calls, typing, multiplying, black coffee, write write write, dig dig dig, sweep sweep. I believe in a slow, tortuous sweep of tongue down the lover's belly; I believe I've been swept off my feet more than once and it's a good idea not to name names. Digging for names is part of my work, but that's a different poem. I believe there's a difference between men and women and I thank God for it. I believe in God, and if you hold the door and carry my books, I'll be sure to ask for your name. What is your name? Do you believe in ghosts? I believe the morning my father died I heard him whistling "Danny Boy" in the bathroom, and a week later saw him standing in the living room with a suitcase in his hand. We never got to say good-bye, he said, and I said I don't believe in good-byes. I believe that's why I have this hole in my chest; sometimes it's rabid; sometimes it's incoherent. I believe I'll survive. I believe that "early to bed and early to rise" is a boring way to live. I believe good poets borrow, great poets steal, and if only we'd stop trying to be happy we could have a pretty good time. I believe time doesn't heal all wounds; I believe in getting flowers for no reason; I believe "Give a Hoot, Don't Pollute," "Reading is Fundamental," Yankee Stadium belongs in the Bronx, and the best bagels in New York are boiled and baked on the corner of First and 21st. I believe in Santa Claus, Jimmy Stewart, ZuZu's petals, Arbor Day, and that ugly baby I keep dreaming about—she lives inside me opening and closing her wide mouth. I believe she will never taste her mother's milk; she will never be beautiful; she will always wonder what it's like to be born; and if you hold your hand right here—touch me right here, as if this is all that matters, this is all you ever wanted, I believe something might move inside me, and it would be more than I could stand. Meg Kearney