Forget pearls, lace-edged kerchiefs, roomy pleats— this is my most matronly adornment: stitches purling up the middle of me to shut my seam, the one that jagged gaped upon my fecund, unspeakable dark, my indecorum needled together with torquemadan efficiency. But O! the dream of the dropped stitch! the
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Full in the fat wallow of me,
Even to the marrow—
Blood plumping along in a red swell
Blushing my most unabashed
Skinpatches: nosetip, earlobe, wristshallow. O
Is a crush of too-muchness,
A malady of my baffled self awash.
Finally the days, will I find
My bones I lost, will my sharps and edges
Hedge this fleshy
Habit I’ve made of excess?
Already my heartracing startles
Twitches, my dinner hiccups
Another’s diaphragm. Already and almost
I swear I feel
The protein creep of me, cell
By splitting cell, into another’s life.
Sorrows not for the heart-close one
I’ll lose from me at my delivery
But for my own
Soul overboiling, unbound, bound
To a stranger’s groans, undone by his hurts
To the third and fourth
Generations. What I’m birthing is my own
Never again mere. Never again my own.
Kimberly Johnson was born on January 9, 1971, in Salt Lake City, Utah, and holds an MA from the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars, an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and a PhD in Renaissance literature from the University of California at Berkeley.
Johnson is the author of three poetry collections: Uncommon Prayer (Persea Books, 2014), A Metaphorical God (Persea Books, 2008), and Leviathan with a Hook (Persea Books, 2002).