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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

and yellow:

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


My Contract

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

tomatoes, golden.

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?


In January

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,

wail of

forgotten season.

Bouquet Garni

tossed in the stock,

thyme and parsnips

chop and bubble

in the house.

Brothy windows

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

myself of

all the words

for feelings,

that turn

like magic

into meals


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.

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