Carried Inside

It happens in the kitchen this time.
Your supper prep is interrupted. You fall,
paring knife still in your hand. The bell pepper,
gouged, tips over and the tiny pale whorl of a half-
formed secondary pepper tumbles out. Vertigo

brings you to the floor, tiles cold against your calves.
You know enough to stay still. You think of
the birth of your daughter, how your abdomen
was sliced open like the pliant underbelly
of a caught fish, how the thick purple
mass of her body was wrestled
from within you. It was not

that long ago, but already you forget
when you first heard her – did she wail or
was it more of a coo? Were you reassured,
knowing she would be fierce enough
for this world? And what about her face – did you
see it, even for a moment, before she was carried away?
Before her competencies were measured
and analyzed by other peoples’ hands?

Your vision is a hot white expanse of nothingness,
with stars at the edges. You stand once you are able,
and you scrape your hand along the cutting board,
dropping the scraps – the seeds and proto pepper – into
the compost bin.

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