The Writing on the Uterus Wall

Two poems by Emily Franklin

The Writing on the Uterus Wall

In the Womb I Leave Graffiti for My Younger Brother

You, lithe swimmer with feet you will use
like hands, meet me here—read what I write
on the wall of mum’s uterus the way later we
will cobalt blue spray the field to mark where
to hit, throw, catch whatever it is we try to hold—
baseball, whiffle, bug clot or frog race—here it is
dark and I have been here before you, so allow me
to give you something: she will not
ever be yours. You will break 
the waves looking, breathing into the space
left by airplane, foot, abrupt hang up, memory fissures
but for now this room, cozy fluid den
of safety—see what I left behind? Words in their infancy
a blueprint we will not find until this decade but
we found it, brother! Think of it: both of us swimming
in blankness so dark no lighthouse/flashlight/torch/bonfire
can get through and yet here we are, grown and reading
and here, too, is my hand. I beg you, take it. In 
the deep I will hold yours.

Sometimes I Apologize to My Children

and sometimes I break open
the pomegranate of my chest
holding each membranous seed
inside while I consider my children
and the ocean of heartache potentially
lapping at them in the future made even
colder despite global warming’s ruin
because they don’t know specifics—death 
sure maybe they get that but what about loving
someone who doesn’t love you back or
hurts you or about slack misery jobs or finding
chains across your front door because of bills
unpaid and, too, the sad bright crocuses blooming
in front of that stoop, what about the getting
pregnant at the worst time or being unable 
at the best? What about plain old human cruelty
boxed up in elementary construction paper 
cutting or the adult-sized lunch tables from which
one might still be excluded and just what can I say
about the underground tracks of desires unmet 
crossing lines with well, that’s just the way it is—
and to think I wanted to ring the bell of joy 
have it sound out to each of my grown babies so
I am sorry for the splitting open of my chest and
sorrier still for the mess my seepage and the world
slops on you but still, I told you about the crocuses—
bright purple and yellow, green so alive it sews you up—
I told you that, too, right?

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