By: Amanda Leal
In the morning, I succumb to the idea that everything must remain
as it was when my son left for his dad's house,
the empty wooden frames stacked on the kitchen table, waiting
for their fresh coat of paint, the laundry basket
with shirt sleeves hanging like dog ears, even the sheets
where I lay with my boyfriend last night, that I know must be washed,
the spot like crusted paint where he pulled out after sex.
The house hangs like a held breath, suspended
between life with and without my child here.
My boyfriend's snoring undulates like the motor of a parked car,
the kitchen bulbs hang like little mouths open, waiting
for me to give them light, and I realize,
this is how my life was swallowed.
When someone asks if my child was planned,
I want to pull the answer like a slender pink organ from my throat,
as though the truth retains a circulatory system inside me,
like I could explain the way I propped my legs on the wall
as his dad took a shower, until my feet turned into cold porcelain,
the way I made a decision even as I refused to,
when I told him that I did not know how it happened,
and almost believed myself. I could tell them
about my first pregnancy, the abortion pills handed to me in a brown paper bag
like a lunch sack, how I swallowed the universe
with the thought that I could dig it back out with my fingers
if I had to. Now, three years later, I turn on the switch,
and light floods my kitchen, like the light that only saw inside my body
when a speculum opened me from the outside.
I force myself to gather the laundry, the tiny shirts
that can fit across my forearm, his sandals that lay flush
in my palm. They wait for him even as I decide to keep moving,
they long for his return, they lay ready for our next steps forward.
Amanda Leal is a 27 year old poet from Lake Worth FL. Her work has been featured or is upcoming in literary magazines such as Levee Magazine, Sky Island Journal, Homology Lit, and others.