Once We Are Severed

Cassie Pruyn
| poetry




Like one of those bubble-makers spewing
drooling chains from balconies during Mardi Gras parades,

I am churning out his cells as we speak.

Some of the bubbles detach themselves, float free.
To cut myself

would be to release us both into the world.

To lick my cut
would be to taste him before I meet him.

We will never be more connected, never again so estranged.

He swells, an intricate
architecture within my own—

I am 3D printing him, but I didn’t develop the code—

this little alien I’ve seen in the night sky
of the ultrasound machine,

jerking his limbs in my darkness: I don’t

love him yet,
but I will.




You snuffle your little

wet mouth against my neck—a game, a message—
rapid milk-breaths in my ear

after sleeping for hours alone,

on your back, in a crib that looks enormous
around your small body.

Or, when you’re ravenous, you latch onto my chin

like one of those suckermouth fish suctioned
to aquarium glass—eyes wide, palms flat

against my cheeks. This desperation

for closeness—I feel it too.
I occasionally imagine

a phantom kick and miss you,

you whom I only know well enough to miss
now that we’re apart. Even

as your single tiny tooth grazes

my jaw, you’re moving
further and further from me.


Cassie Pruyn is the author of Lena (Texas Tech University Press, 2017), winner of the Walt McDonald First-Book Prize in Poetry and finalist for the Audre Lorde Award. Her poems have appeared in AGNI Online, The Normal School, The Los Angeles Review, The Common, and others.

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