In the beginning
they had to cut me out of you.
Though the scar has faded,
you trace your finger
over the pale crescent slash,
the space where I used to be.
You pick up the phone, hoping
to get to know the stranger I’ve become
as the years further wedged
our distance. When I don’t answer
the old wound throbs, feels
the acute pressure of each stitch
sealing us apart.

Last year they cut out your womb,
because every month it wept heavily for me
in blood. The body is so infantile.
It wants what it wants.
Now there is nothing left in you
to crave me anymore.

How does one dispose of a womb
with respect and honor for its garden
of proliferation, expanding balloon
of protection?

How does one let go
of the first physical connection
that means everything?

Mother, I have a lover.
He splits me in the same place
I was supposed to thrust out of you
but didn’t, couldn’t,
and I slip out of my body,
as I imagine you did—
a dreamlike sort of hovering
outside of yourself—
as you wondered who they were pulling
from you.

I’m not sure what he’s taking out of me.
I don’t love him.
And he doesn’t love me.

Physical connection
means nothing.

These days, my life moves from foreground
to background, from light to shadow.
I have pushed you far back
into my shadow.
I refuse you, the way
I refuse to accept the beginning—
the umbilical cord around my neck,
my blue face, the glistening fluid on the scalpel’s
sharp silver blade, the need.

Anne Champion has a BA in Creative Writing and Behavioral Psychology from Western Michigan University and received her MFA in Poetry at Emerson College. She has work previously published in Minnetonka Review, PANK Magazine, The Aurorean, The Comstock Review, Poetry Quarterly, Line Zero, Thrush Poetry Journal and elsewhere. She was also a 2009 recipient of The Academy of American Poets Prize at Emerson College and was recently nominated for an Emerging Writer Grant from The St. Boltolph Foundation. She currently teaches writing and literature at Emerson College, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy, and Pine Manor College in Boston, MA.

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