Postpartum April

by Anna Meister

baby fights through
painful growth new
understanding world
expanding like a capsule-
turned-foam-horse-in-water
again he settles
on a sleepless we
o so symbiotic
o wonder week

shushed but not saved
in the blue-black room
we relocate
i picture my eyes scooped out
with a melon baller
the thought comforts me

now halfway through
my hours i teeter
just this side of dangerous
could never say aloud
all of what the brain starts looping
after a few days zombie
wrung strung burnt
the fuck up & out
it gets really dark
like if only we had a garage
what i share is careful
still hurtful still wrong
to call myself alone
when i am never
the only one in the room

a fantasy: nothing
on the calendar no
calendar at all nobody
to speak to no body
with which to speak

where could i leave him
who might forgive me

more pills would turn up
white noise make me
too lifted unbraid my breathing
my milk tainted groggy

my suicidal ideation speaks
in poet voice she’s trying
to start something
but that’s a self i severed
in exchange for a new project
i made the most beautiful boy
perhaps in order to know
i need to stay
but now
i feel like a dirty empty mug
on the edge of the sink

his babble
his reaching toward me
his one word
his tongue
his lashes
my envy
his entrance
my purpose
& after
the vinyl recliner
monitors & tubes

i’m naked under here
long & drooping downward
son strapped to me
as i was once strapped to the table
still able to create
even while they zapped me
a couple hundred times

it’s so easy to get back there
the hallways & questions
& beeping being rewired
assuming i would never make it
here & being here now
stuck in that memory
when the whole point was
to forget

his soft spot pulses
when finally passed out
fat cheek pancaked against
my drained breast
he smells like warm vinegar
circular dreamer my dream
i cannot reach my water
glass cannot move lonesome
bliss-fog i’m locked in
ad infinitum

i guess i’m just sorry
for giving life & still wanting
to give it away
i watch the bud willing it
to bloom before my eyes
nothing happens all damn day

Anna Meister is author of two chapbooks, most recently As If (Glass Poetry Press, 2018). Her debut full-length collection, What Nothing, will be out from Sundress Publications in 2021. She holds an MFA in poetry from New York University, where she was a Goldwater Writing Fellow, and her poems have appeared in Kenyon Review, BOAAT, The Shallow Ends, and elsewhere. She lives in Des Moines, Iowa, with her wife and son.