Gabrielle Brant Freeman: Every Boy She’s Ever Fucked Without a Condom

Gabrielle Brant Freeman: Every Boy She’s Ever Fucked Without a Condom
Francesco Gallarotti

Francesco Gallarotti



Every boy she’s ever fucked

without a condom scientists say 

peppered her

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 God

good thing

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