Helen Koukoutsis

Hot, angry clotstremble throughcrimson loins:you've just expelleda lentil. Contractionssuggest otherwise.Blood and lininganchor onto the early hoursof the morning;life,death,84 heartbeats –the outcomewas settled beforeconception. There'snothing you can docrumpled overa bloated belly,ass suspendedlike a drawbridge.
You planto do it right,next time:eat rightsleep rightwalk right,like the Buddha.You promise to guardyour mind againstnegative thoughts:a 37 year old uterus(vessel of fibroids,cysts, and polyps);food intolerancesthat never existedas a kid. Youvow to avoid theinternet, randomsuperstitions, andsocial beliefs of thekind that assumeall women divenaturallyinto motherhood.Most of all, you promisenever to writeabout thisbecause insidethe bowl of wasteand wateran embryo has fallenlike a sparrowfrom its nest; it willnever know sound,sighttaste,its own bitterdemise;it will never knowhow to spellthis moment,or offera comforting voicewhen you look backand see this –another oneof your losses.

Helen Koukoutsis resides in Sydney, Australia and teaches literature at the University of Western Sydney. Her poems have appeared both online and in print in Australian journals. In her current research endeavors, she is examining Emily Dickinson's poetry in the light of nineteenth century Buddhism. Her article on Dickinson's encounter with Victorian-American Buddhism was recently published by The Researcher at Jackson State University.