Seventeen years ago, you were
two weeks late and I was tired
of carrying you. Your father,

brother didn’t mind so much.
I wished for you in the same way
I wished for a big, empty house:

relief from the weight of you,
heavier than a harvest of carrots.
One day, as I loped along my rows

of cabbage, green and fat and budding
like sick roses, there came one wet
snap and then another, an entire field

of flesh sounds following each other
like cause-and-effect. Cabbage heads
split, sheath upon sheath upon sheath

exposed, right down to their tight,
reluctant hearts. And still, I waited.
It seemed you would never come.

Katherine Fallon received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. Her poems have appeared in Colorado Review, Permafrost, Meridian, Foundry, and others. Her chapbook, The Toothmakers’ Daughters, is available through Finishing Line Press. She teaches at Georgia Southern University, and shares domestic square footage with two cats and her favorite human, who helps her zip her dresses. She can be found at

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