“Karlen’s Vessel” by Kathy O’Meara.
She takes spider silk and oils from the next town over.
She takes flowers blue and deep black.
She dreams of sonnets and tries to get the words out.
She held the sprout of her baby, the tissues like a sodden desert bloom packed with unexpected rainwater, in her refrigerator for five days.
I’ve got a dead baby in my fridge, she thinks.
Out of nowhere she stifles a quick laugh: Inappropriate
She doesn’t know how to do this.
She examines the so-called “products of her conception.”
Looks for fingers or a spine.
The house is quiet, all the children in yellow, red or white houses and the man gone off to work.
She pours what’s left into the palm of her hand so she can hold it once. It stains her fingers like berries.
She shushes the slightly sick shame
Only say you looked at it, she reminds herself.
All the songs she would have sung feel stuck in her throat like soup cream.
All the diapers she would have hung in the sun flap in her mind and snap in the grief wind.
She promises not to mention them.
Amy Alexander is a poet and writer living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She has published work in Quarterly West, The Cream City Review, The Coil, Louisiana Literature, and many other journals. She was a finalist for the Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship.
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