Ava C. Cipri



the words will not come

until all the loss mittens are paired
until the snake sheds its skin at the river’s bottom
until the trees uproot themselves
until the bloodhound gives up the chase
until every addict hits bottom

until your flower’s namesake unfurls itself in May
until every child has a full belly
until we dig deep in the earth
until we let handfuls of M&M’s bleed in our palms

until I can forgive what I cannot forgive
until I surrender my claim
until I can talk to the young adult I was,
          who couldn’t face having a child in poverty with no partner,
                     who couldn’t take the bus alongside other single mothers
                     hauling strollers to wait in the welfare lines
who saw no choice, but to be pro-choice
who’s AA sponsor laughed at the thought of her carrying you to term

I carry the weight of you        each year you grow    
        those last moments        your heart beating
        on the monitor I could have run
        out of the room in my paper gown

out the office, down the stairs past the swarms of protesters
        taken flight, you and I, we could have
        found a small space in this world to call our own


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