Myself, says Vivian. Do it myself.
And for the first time, the reflexive
pronoun forms in her mouth.
It’s the car seat. She wants to climb
into it alone. She turns her head back
to face me. No help, she says. No help.
She tumbles belly first into the car door,
then awkwardly paws to pull herself up
into her seat’s light pink upholstery,
and I wonder for how long
her mind has known of itself.
She is no longer just a me.
She’s both subject and object. Both the girl
being seen and the girl who is doing the seeing.
Myself, she says to herself as she clambers
into the car seat while I wait by the open
door to buckle her in, part of me watching
her. Part of me watching myself watch her.