Artwork by Dimitri Cavander

To Be Emptied

The silence in the waiting room sits in the crook of your ears.
It will stay with you for years after this, after the sting in your abdomen ebbs away,
And your underwear is no longer stained with the Rorschach blood.
In this moment, you hardly notice it.

Instead, you are thinking about your body — if it is still your body, and if it will
Remain yours after this. This morning, your reflection was lined
With blue, like a crayoned shadow of what you might have given, a phantom cradle
Stood beside you, your hands alone rocking it back and forth.

When your name is called, you are still. Somewhere inside you, something is dying,
And something else is being killed. Sixteen, and all you have ever known
About love is lying in a heap beside you, the cool graze
Of your fingers across your stomach, the slight swell that answers.

There will be moments in this life where you will stand somewhere holy and ask
The hollows in the air if it will ever leave you, how you want nothing more
Than to slice the traitor skin from the bone, leave no part of this in your veins.
Still, when the next boy asks you if you ever want to be a mother, you almost say

You already are.