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.

 

 
 

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