Camille-Yvette Welsch

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Days After

Blown apart, a split atom, burst
by desire, I come back together weeks
after birth, after delirious endless
nights, rivered milk, pumped bounty,
squall cries.  On the shore, dragged up
from exhaustion, I rebuild and regather
all the lost dust, the ocher chips of paint,
the pulsing brain, the remembered longing.

River golem, I use the clay to seal the cracks,
round over breasts and hips, sharp clavicle,
knuckle, and bone.  Now Venus of Willendorf,
pendulous and round, now Semele recycled.

After the light, I recreate myself,
this time as mother, watcher. As lost thought,
as the wall against which a cry is pitched,
echo and omega, more fragile than before,
hairline fractures along every edge, precious
core the light in the cracks. Memory of breaking,
memory of rebuilding. My fingertip pulled
along the cracks, my wonder at the holding seam.

First appeared in Zone 3. Reprinted by permission of the author.

Camille-Yvette Welsch is the author of The Four Ugliest Children in Christendom (The Word Works Press, 2019) , due out this month, as well as a chapbook, Full. A former Literary Mama book reviews editor, her work has appeared in Cream City ReviewMid-American ReviewIndiana Review, and Menacing Hedge. She teaches writing at The Pennsylvania State University.