This is my first time to surrogate, my small gut pants:
In these next hours, I will come back to a world
where empty means safe. For now,
I house the runt goat. For ten months I’ve steeped ginger in my belly,
trying to keep this devil’s kid alive.
My skin is the prime filter. I am the husk keeper. Now,
I take the prim dosage, make my womb medicinal, wait for the kick.
I was meant to die out after this birth.
I am the great dispensatory dried away by rote.
I keep darning my sky charts, holding a thermometer into the atmosphere to see if it is time yet.
There is little breath left in my ribcage.
When I started this:
he wove me inside a hemp talisman to keep me still
(as a spider bewilders with string, charms with a kaleidoscope of arms)
The bargain: he says this will save my house below the sawmill pond,
my trapezoid of children, my horses eating out the field.
For ten months, I’ve thought I could haul it out like the root of a vegetable, this runt
and make a run for it.
But he has grown a bullseye inside me. I can feel the hoofs, the horn-stumps, birthmarkings—
I wait to soften into the sog of this hollow, sponge the scratches from my hips.
What he will have left me:
forest of hangnails, body breathing in the musk of the sluice, the scaffolds of a stick-crib
between my legs. I have to smoke him out before he gets me sick.