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I’ve been melted into something

too easy to spill. I make more

and more of myself in order

to make more and more of the baby.

He takes it, this making. And somehow

he’s made more of me, too.

I’m a mother now.

I run to the bathroom, run

to the kitchen, run to the crib

and I’m not even running.

These places just scare up as needed,

the wires that move my hands

to the sink, to the baby,

to the breast are electrical.

I’m in shock.

One must be in shock to say so,

as if one’s own state is assessable,

like a car accident or Minnesota taxes.

A total disaster, this sack of liquid

flesh which yowls and leaks

and I’m talking about me

not the baby. Me, this puddle

of a middle, this utilized vessel,

cracked hull, divine

design. It’s how it works. It’s how

we all got here. Deform

following the function . . .

But what about me? I whisper

secretly and to think,

around these parts used to be

the joyful place of sex,

what is now this intimate

terror and squalor.

My eyes burned out at three a.m. and again

at six and eleven. This is why the clock

is drowning, as I said earlier.

I’m trying to explain it.

I repeat myself, or haven’t I already?

Tiny self, along with a tiny self.

I’ll say it: he hurt me, this new

babe, then and now.

Perhaps he always will,

though thoughts of the future

seem like science fiction novels

I never finished reading.

from Liquid Flesh

Brenda Shaughnessy

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