3 Poems by Chelsea Bayouth
Miscarriage at the Spring Bris
Yes, like the child that remembers laughing
our sandals tramp over the busted blooms.
Pink of Leila’s eyeshadow at the picnic, flashing
Pink trees, thick syrupy stink for the bees
Pink aisle of the 99 Cents Store, sick with eggs
Pink rosé in plastic cups
Pink every time I wipe
Pink, the box of two tests,
Pink of the clear cap, pink
my face in the marshmallow dusk
The crumpled trumpet
flowers we laid our blankets over,
the dusty mouth of the front yard iris,
my morning urine.
Everyone in white, bowing and trilling.
Us women look on from the lacy mechitzah,
where I can feel without seeing:
the red ripple out of me,
my body bent in drain
of what may have been
our very own
in my glinting basket grass.
Of course, the green.
Smacked growth and growing,
the park and the palms and the steep hill
behind Trader Joe’s. The pond and the moss
in the driveway, my throat
as I watch the new mother
watch her new baby,
as he’s carried on a shining silver pillow,
rag of wine in his mouth,
to be cut
I am trying to learn to shower,
towel dry & apply lotion slow
as opposed to the lean-in of idle scrolling.
To stretch my muscles by hanging limp
at the waist. Wound tight
rubber bands of a balsawood plane.
But after two drinks in a room of loved ones
I scan my brain for the friend or person I can text,
Baby, I’m afraid I want to die.
Lately I’ve been waking
as if overnight a candy shell
has hardened over me.
& I wonder if it is West Nile,
Arthritis, the mattress on the floor
or just how it feels to be older.
A woman I know, her mother
is dying from tumors that have cracked
her sacrum. Which in its degrees
of separation feels like reason enough
to call it, should, years from now
I be that mother, that daughter.
Is this painful? Are you afraid
to love me because I might take
that love with me when I choose to go?
Is there one person who will observe
the dip of my upper lip, how every sip
I take deposits some fluid pearl there?
No food sounds good.
My taste buds are off. This day
is flat and yellow. Stewing
in a yellow heat that bakes the springy
leaves of the potted sweet potato.
I managed to make
two eggs with golden tomatoes,
red onions & leeks over toasted
rosemary sourdough, but like everything
it felt bland and tiresome to do—
heat of the stove in the already hot house
heat of the caked egg pan
craggy utensils, a mess, everything.
Everyone thinks I should have a baby.
I think of it and mourn my single body.
My untransformedness. My full hair
& taut belly. My grayless head. My pale nipples.
I am yet harvesting some small ignition
of inspiration. Some implantation of joy
by calling the clearly light-orange colored
This morning I woke early with no
cloying baby, to make blueberry turnovers,
which I burned. & to collect foxtails for the
budvases on the windowsill. Such a singular joy.
To be alone in the kitchen, squeezing the lemon,
cutting things, the knife heavy on the grooved block.
How many times can I love new fruits?
I have loved them all. I swear
I can hear the trumpets now.
If you’ve followed this far maybe you can, too.
I can hear the clarion sunrise, strings and horns
that beckon toward their hills
of pink and yellow grasses.
I believe in my ability to love.
But to steer my car all the way home
across a highway bridge alone at 11pm?
while the days sit drifting
on a lost boat
I make a feast
that I’m not hungry for.
Drippy eaves grieve
the sun and I
move slow through the boil
like a little kitchen
ghost. Lazy guest,
most myself amid
the mess. Leggings
and house slippers,
loose tits swinging,
hair a tail,
tossed in the stock,
thyme and parsnips
chop and bubble
in the house.
thick with steam.
And cream, whipped
with sugar till
stiff peaks are formed.
A pie, adorned with
crusts the shape of leaves,
my hands, two puckered wings
which feed me pills. I
take the pills. I take
the pills. And I forgive
all the words
Chelsea Bayouth is a writer and Emmy Award Winning visual artist from Los Angeles California. Her poetry, essays, and short stories have been published in BOAAT, CALYX, Roanoke Review, BlazeVOX, and many others. She currently has work forthcoming with Nimrod, Duende and Angel City Review, and her manuscript, Fruit for the Living, was a semi-finalist in the YesYes Books 2020 Pamet River Prize competition. More of her work can be found on her website www.chelseabayouth.com.