5. November. “Fallopianode” by Racquel Malone

If I never have a daughter/ these child bearing hips will sink into old womanhood, maybe never missing what they never had

If she never shows up/ I won’t wallow neither will I rejoice/there is no real loss or gain

If I never have a daughter/the leaves will still fall every October and I will still drink warm whiskey in black tea and think of you

My own mother stands in front of me and doesn’t see me/only the brown infant she birthed in mid-July

and I may never know what she means by that

I may never honor my sister by giving my daughter her middle name

I may never understand labor pain

If I never have a daughter/I can never feel the trouble of her toothache or diaper rash

I can never be held liable for waiting too long to take her to the ER; I’ve enough guilt of my own

My niece will cry out for me and I will still turn away; still ill-equipped and on the run, unable to soothe her deeply

She will want for me to stay, to be around at bed time and all I can offer is cheap sweets and weak promises

Tomorrow, next winter, soon/ Like the Easter bunny or Claus/ I am reliable but unnecessary

If I never have a daughter/ my belly will grow fat, not from housing new life, but from carbohydrates and Chinese food

The moon will continue to guide me through life/ I’ll be forever in its lunar prowess/ daughter or not, I’m woman still

Winters from now when the air is dry and grey/I’ll hum a daughter-less tune and wait for all my ghosts to come out and dance

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