SELF-PORTRAIT WITH POMEGRANATE SEEDS AND UNWANTED CHILD
JESSICA LYNN SUCHON
It’s true I sawed the dark fruit
open, pomegranate rind split
against the quiet curve of a stone.
Each day I snuck away –
scraped the seeds
out with my tongue
and licked the skin bare
until one morning I woke
covered in blood, half-dry like red clay
between my thighs. I knew
the cruelty the father was
capable of, knew he would tear me
from my life then send me back,
and I let him. Was winter
ever so different from his bed?
Yes, I wanted him
for his wildness, not in spite of it.
Spring is a cruel joke that will not end.
When barley stalks stem from the earth,
they stretch toward me
like a child’s golden fingers. Say someday
his dark eyes won’t watch
from every olive branch.
Say poppies will stop spilling open
like blood in the fields.