You, My Father by Lauren Jo Sypniewski




When they remove half my uterus
sucking shredded organ from abdomen

through a thick metal straw, I
think of you—my father—cracked hands

encased in nitrile, guiding
a bloodied skull out from the grip

of eclampsia, the delicate skeletal discs
cradled between fontanelles:

membranous spaces like the fissures linking
tectonic plates, a cosmos yet to be charted.

I wonder how I will be archived
under “never to be a mother,” as you—my father—

swaddle another distant human marvel,
family camera flashes: a discotheque,

you clearing vernix caseosa, virgin paint
on wriggling slick canvas unaware and so in awe.

When I watch you—my father—return home
shoulders weighted by an occupation whose

deliverance has passed me by, leaving bones
grieving the hollowness of my womb, I

receive your daily blessing, your hand upon my forehead,
palm leaving my skin warm with the realization

this will be the closest I ever come.



Lauren Jo Sypniewski grew up in woodsy and earthy Northern Michigan before moving to Boston to obtain her MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Emerson College. Her essays and poetry have appeared in The American Council for Polish Cultural Heritage, r.kv.r.y. quarterly, Pine River Anthology, and IthacaLit, among others. She now teaches writing at a university in Utah.

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