I return to the place where I was first undone.
For years I’ve carried this stone baby
behind the locked nest of my pubic bone.
Little prisoner, calcified twin
I could not birth
no matter how hard I tried
to pretend I didn’t winter it
in its little box, brute season
after brute season. When I was old enough
to be daughter I wrenched free
of my mother’s hips and fled across
the back of another set of days. This skull
between my thighs I could not
be rid of. Womb’s snowmelt
unyoking every house I thrashed to
and tried to plant a prairie in.
I’ve spit on my mothers’ names
blamed them for what hands did to us
rocked and rocked in this umbilicus
of galvanized steel and mud, palms
snowing open. There was so much I could
not forgive my mother for. This cursed life. This anger
I didn’t know what to do with.
How we didn’t know how to be mothered.
Men devour the ash they root inside women.
And now when I come home
crawling across the wind, I drag my breasts
over these sharpened antlers, this hush
of night’s indigo draping round my shoulders.
Baby. Baby. In the cold my mother’s voice
tells me through the snake in the story
you are not a bad woman. Arsenic
lives at the core of knowledge
and if you eat it slowly over years
you can build strength enough for anything.
I’ve sucked these seeds I stole from beneath
the ground, remembered how to be strong,
daughter cell after daughter cell pounding
this queer heart of mine into its blue shape.
The deer here hung
from floorboards and drained for three days
until they’re emptied enough to walk free.
In the darkroom under the house
among the wet red negatives I cradle
my mother between my thighs
to help us give birth.
Massage the c-section scar where I was made
with such violence from her body.
Tell her there is no shame. Tell her
we can be daughters again together.
Headwatered in these bodies of ours.
Something blaspheming through us
with a howl of such practiced thirst.
Kelly Weber is the author of the forthcoming chapbook The Dodo Heart Museum: A Fabulist Curiosity Cabinet (Dancing Girl Press, 2020), and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Tupelo Quarterly, DIAGRAM, Cream City Review, Permafrost, Ruminate, and elsewhere. She has been a finalist for the Frontier Chapbook Prize and Two Sylvias Chapbook Prize and has been longlisted for the [PANK] Book Contest, and her work has received nominations for the Pushcart Prize. She holds an MFA from Colorado State University. More of her work can be found at kellymweber.com.