This child, who started as autumn leaves
blown against the house,
paper crane with a secret code folded inside, dream
from which I believed
I’d awaken, untroubled, to the old landscape—as easily as setting out milk
for stray kittens. This child,
who emerged from my sliced-through womb as flame flickering
in a liminal space, threatening to be extinguished.
When the nurse waiting at the ER doors lifted him
from my arms, I collapsed on the sidewalk,
twigs flattened underfoot, the vibrating ground echoing
my lone beating heart.
Who would teach me
how to be less careless with my life?
Previously published in MER 18
Erica Bodwell is a poet and attorney who lives in Concord, New Hampshire. Her full-length manuscript, Crown of Wild, was a finalist for the 2018 Four Way Books Larry Levis Prize and won the Two Sylvias Press 2018 Wilder Prize and was published in 2020. Her chapbook, Up Liberty Street, was released in March 2017 by Finishing Line Press. Her poems have appeared in PANK, APIARY, HeART and other journals. Her website is ericasoferbodwell.com.