I have no lab to build you in,
no spark to plant soul-fire in your lungs,
no burning flame for your heat.
I am no alchemist.
I do not call you home.
I will not make clay for you, grow
leggy roots in the swamp of my belly for you,
sing songs of coalescence
I will not
write your name upon my flesh,
wear your face on mine,
I will not burden you with this.
Muddy soup of blood and bone
naked mole rat, I feel
inside our skin
this trusted symmetry
With selections from W. Campbell’s Memoir on Extra-Uterine Gestation, Edinburgh, 1840
a medical curiosity or
one of the most dreadful calamities
to which a womb can be subjected
an unabsorbed abdominal pregnancy
of at least three months duration
in conditions ripe for calcification
the local circulation must be sluggish,
the fetus must remain sterile,
and the pregnancy undetected
one patient passed
what she thought was a chicken bone
it was a femur
calcium salt gargoyle:
stay a little while with me?
Solemn and silent, the technician
chooses litmus strips and
droppers chemical full;
a brief pause,
a breath before tasting fate.
I am clouded by particulate.
This is my fifth:
I already know.
Colors change, edges curl, then drop with decree.
There is a bereavement fee to be paid,
coins larger than eye buds,
thicker than clots.
birth mucus crowds my throat,
she is the one who will not crown
I will drink the blue waters
of forgetfulness; I will dip
my fingers on
birthing blankets warp bitter on
I would name you Lethe.
A caterer and personal chef in Seattle, Nora Gause (non-binary she/they) loves the moment between click and woosh when a gas range lights. She thinks a lot about limerence, family histories, identities, and justice, and suspects that poems and recipes are spells in disguise. She has a bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Russian Language from Goucher College.