Jennifer Fossenbell: My Womb Is a Snow Cave
Tim Trad

Tim Trad

nursery >< SCIENCE

First postpartum birthday of the host
has arrived: sudden reversal of weft, a once-single flesh stretched
now sags in tender-waisted slacks, observance of the
occasion made on waffle-steel fourtops at the lake in the city

Did you know rabbits eat their babies to save themselves
at the first sign of shortage in the woodlands? singing lullabies
like Hush Now My Pinkies
O My Reincarnation Instant Breakfast

Melting cones of tiny brats blip onto burner sidewalks
shorting out the months-old tracers of blinking hospital machines—
here you are posing in the garden square
sails against the blue field: clean white triangles adrift
& shipless, shapeless through the wave glimmer
& sunglass glare and the sleep dep flicker like dying neon
of AWARE AWARE AWARE

Did you know hyenas birth through their urethras?
on the savannas unaware of surgical alternatives
lowing hymnals like O My Hymen It’s a Narrow Road We Walk

see some animals laugh like us but most don’t
& some hurt like us in birthing but most don’t
most don’t pray like us don’t play video games like us
don’t like us at all really

Did you know homo sapiens flay and eat themselves
or one another to save their babies’ reputations?
dropping mad cash on the prairies for an advantage
like The World Spins Slicker Around My Spawn

perpetuation is a sad kind of science
so you turn your back on repulsive diagrams
to pick up baby toads, think about squishing them
& not squish them cuz now you’ve grown some
on-board sensors that flare when other flesh is torn

your jar lies open like grass on a lawn
lies like a nursery rhyme
like science knows how sing to but always gets the shaft

people only think bleeps and boops
in squarish flat grids think copper pins and desiccated skins
think science never cuts loose and moans out there on the cool, wet plains
but it knows better—it’s more like us than we like to think

now you’re just exactly your own baby, in big and tall
with extra skin,  some big lady clothes
a chronic farce and longer narrative line
praying at the altar of tested hypotheses
moaning O Things That Happened to the Animals in My Brain

O Really Really Slow Stellar Events

Throat That Ripens O Into Slow Effacement

My Womb Is a Snow Cave O My Sisters and My Brothers

O Walk Down to the Ditch and Gather the Tadpoles Unto You

O O Overdue Contractions of My Neural Fundus

O Fully Dilated Birthday Dear Me O

O Everyone is a Full-Term Epidemic


Jennifer Fossenbell recently relocated from Minneapolis to Beijing with her husband and daughter. She writes poetry and other things, some of which can be found in Gigantic Sequins, Small Po[r]tions, AJAR, Minor Literature[s], and on The Volta blog. She has also co-translated collections by Vietnamese poets Huu Thinh (2015) and Tran Quang Quy (forthcoming from Word Palace Press). She occasionally teaches online poetry classes for The Loft Literary Center.