Untitled – Kate Engler

I tried to tell him that my belly longs to be swollen belly baby belly

beloved belly/ birthing/ birth/ afterbirth/ belly

my gut aches; I am old; blooming and shriveling with the passing hours; stone

fossil and throbbing embryo.

Yearning swelling swollen vibrations- run too fast for too long

Ears throbbing underwater hunger beyond bread beyond sex everything slowed

under honey like poets promised. Mother have I known such love?


I tried to tell him that something as deep as the place I used to try and starve out

burns red-hot yearning and that I am scared. That I am slowing/ rooting/

that my feet are spreading over the earth. Tendrils twisting and possessing my gut in their

palms; creeping fingers coaxing my sleeping womb.

I want to run long legs daddy long legs horse legs dragon fly

I want to run through fields bug bites deer bones mice scatter

Bicycle under the moon teary beer eyed honey suckle orgasm

Truck stops; cheese and dry bread from our backpacks; hot coffee; draw pictures

on the back of our hands to show (them) the direction we want to go.


I cut the shape of a woman’s body out of thick paper with a razor blade

and dipped her in blue ink

press/ press/ pressed

over and over she has curves I don’t see in the mirror. She holds her head in her arms;

her large breasts hang low over her melon belly.

Will I ever have a melon belly moon belly

Swallow the moon.


I tried to tell him that I’m growing too fast; that my bones ache in the night like

they did when I was twelve-but then they grew taller and stronger and now they

grow in tight coils; becoming one with my mattress springs.

I tried to tell him I’m growing too fast and my skin is cracking open- watercolour

flowers- will I grow a melon belly? Swell and crack open like eggs boiled too long;

forgotten pot; cloudy water.

Crack open like the spreading wrinkles on my face.

And yes, I see as many ghosts as they promised me I would.

“Women and ghosts go hand in hand,” they said.

But hand in hand where?