I joke about chucking my fat sack uterus
every period. Scramble past the bramble
of bowels with bare hands, uproot the muscular
balloon. An eviction, no more painful
than what I already feel. But I can’t
remove what doesn’t belong to me—
to do the violence I want
and still be loved for it.
Difficult not to be defined by motherhood—
it’s all that holds me whole.
Doctors say I might want kids one day.
Mama prays one day is soon.
Curled in a helpless mess of punishment,
I let my first sin spill. This sloughed blood
a sacrifice for fantasy. My uterus,
a little home for someone else’s dreams.
To do the violence I want and still be
loved for it.
“The whole is greater” means the womb
remains. Coins rattle my uterine purse,
valuable collateral for the folk I owe—
women who pray for children. Let her
have me how she wants me. Self-sacrifice
is easy. Everyone loves a martyr.
To do the violence
and still be—
After Five Years of Absence, My Mother Takes
Care of Me While I’m Sick”
After Five Years of Absence, My Mother Takes Care of Me While I’m Sick
I’ll tell you how it started: a cat scratch on the back post
of my throat, a sniffle, a sneeze, a fever whose high-rise
demolition, all shattered glass and metaphor-swallowed,
diamonded my lungs like a car-marred stretch of road—
memory makes something beautiful of my mother
plastering slivered onion to the bottoms of my feet.
In cotton socks, I marinate, sick broth of a Vidalia’s
pearlescent sweat. Mom swears the onion will blacken
with bacteria by morning, makes promises she can’t keep
again. She spoons yogurt to soothe my fever-fried throat.
I smell a pasture of scallions, I fumble for spoonfuls
of macerated berries, habit of chasing sweetness, why I keep
coming back to reach for the hand that holds the flat silver
spoon like a ward—finally, the two of us close enough
to wound, if we wanted. When she tells me she will check
on me by morning, I need to believe her. Even while I dip
in the somnolent stream of fever-dreams, past optometrists
and their peeping scopes, jabbering cows, and a runaway
Volvo, I will weasel my feet back and forth in my socks,
a pendulum hoping the onion will drink up the dark.