Have I not had my fill of you, dream babies?
You pull fluid from my body in a viscous river,
a red and wholesome, fulsome flood. I cramp and
I shiver; I deliver you (what I have of you) to the
tissue in my hand, to the filthiest waters beneath
dry land. And though this, your egg, is never seen again,
I catch you dreamwise, where you swell inside me
like sacs of butterflies or like that “…Lovely” song
by Mr. Wonder or, else, like the words I miss you,
or like cathedral bells. My never-made bed, my
glassy wish, my gazed-on stars, some light years away,
already vanished, I have come to let you go. I have
waited like a lover beneath the moon, my feet
in the snow, half–sad clown/half-loon and, being so,
I have come no closer to your conception. One exception:
I lied to my mother in the doorway in the dark, so I
could fool around with that boy in my room.
Weeks later, alone with a little white stick, my
heart icy-sick, palms slick, I was swearing to the air
I would bring you to an end. This morning on
YouTube a giraffe gave birth, pacing her pen
and hoofing the earth. I found myself breathless,
watching her move; she knew precisely what she
had to do, her belly swollen, her body whole—
mine, too. Now I wait for the doctor with my pants
sloughed off, weakly wondering at my mother’s line,
and I whisper to myself: It’s okay, it’s fine.
Here’s this: I have read HysterSisters.com and traced
each algorithm under my palm. He can take this womb:
this brittle, life-torn, Goddess-built flesh, this never-was,
might-have-been locus of rest. He can take what I
have pictured in the quiet meantime: your clenched
brown fists, your serious brow, your sour-milk skin,
your tiny will, if something dwells here to crush
and to kill—in me, who never made use of this thing,
who wears neither watch nor diamond ring.
Amanda Gunn is the recipient of the Auburn Witness Poetry Prize Honoring Jake Adam York and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She received her MFA in poetry from The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University, and is currently a PhD student in English at Harvard University. Her work appears in Redivider, Southern Humanities Review, Thrush, New South, Winter Tangerine Review, Unsplendid, and others.