Every boy she’s ever fucked
without a condom scientists say
peppered her with his DNA,
and here she thought immediate
shower cleansing soap and scalding
hot water lather up scrub hard and fresh
underwear erased everything.
But their distinct genetic material
took a ride rode a wave slapped
a twenty into the bouncer’s hand.
Her brain convoluted information
infiltrated replicated pro-
liferated in the one place
she thought was under her control.
And the one child
the one who left who slipped out
wordless. The male child.
His fetal cells made their way in
to her, too.
And after the blood was washed
away, after blood no one saw pepper
her thighs was showered off;
and later, after buckshot peppered the only boy
she ever loved without a condom
because there was just the one,
after blood everyone whispered peppered
the eggshell wall was scrubbed off;
after that, everyone said:
thank your lucky stars
you didn’t have children.
She thinks: Which of my thoughts are his?
She thinks: If I open my mouth to scream,
will there be fire?
Gabrielle Brant Freeman's poetry has been published in many journals, most recently in Barrelhouse, Cider Press Review, Grist, One, Rappahannock Review, storySouth, and Waxwing. She was nominated twice for the Best of the Net, and she was a 2014 finalist. Gabrielle won the 2015 Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition. Press 53 published her first book, When She Was Bad, in 2016. Gabrielle earned her MFA through Converse College. Read her poems and more at http://gabriellebrantfreeman.squarespace.com/.