Taylor ByasJune 17, 2021

In the middle of the night I wake, my arms hanger-
          bent for the child I don’t have. Somebody’s wishing
fruit on this womb, and it tells me so—a half-step
          into irregularity, a missed cycle, the sham of phantom

pains with no blood to show for it. I count my late
          days like petals of a flower frazzled from its stem when
I leave things up to fate; I’m pregnant, I’m not
          pregnant
, I’m pregnant, I’m not pregnant. See, I’m

tired of funerals, the pallbearing of myself, the week-
         long procession into fresh pairs of underwear. I grow
jealous of the flower, how it doesn’t ask for anything,
         how it splays itself in sunlight for the dusting of pollen

and this is enough. My family places month-old babies
         in my lap and my body wills the crib of tissue it has
created to stick a little longer. Fussy children quickly
         quiet to wonder under my gaze. Perhaps beneath

my heartbeat they hear the soft collapse of blood
         and possibility, indelicate in its leaving. They coo,
offer their fingers to my lips almost in sympathy.
         There, there, in their eyes. The child mothers me.

More: Poems

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