You don't know
me, but I've just miscarried your
child. He slipped
from my body as easily as unknown
gender becomes the universal "he," the way
something I will not claim as mine
This is where I would start
to make things up—
I say you didn't know me
because it was a one-night
stand, because do we ever really
know someone? I don't want
to say what no one
will believe, that we never
met, and by that I mean, never met.
If this were a narrative, I'd say,
"You met a woman who
gave good hand jobs, so good
she could call them "erotic massages"
and call herself "Community
Sexual Health Educator."
If this were a dialogue, you'd say,
"She seemed so careful," and I'd say,
"I thought so too. Who would use
gloves and not remember to throw
the used ones away?"
If this were a textbook, I'd write,
"Recent findings indicate
that sperm can survive on lubricated latex
for hours. Subjects reported that implantation
occurred in one out of one cases."
If this were a metaphor, we would be
flowers, and she would be the honey bee
who scatters our pollen but is only
trying to make something sweet.
If this were realistic, I would find
a metaphor without beauty.
If this were a fetus, I would not
know it existed until it ceased to.
If this were a baby, it would be better
to call it something else.
If I were honest, I would blame
you because it is easier.
If I were fair, I would admit
we all played a part we didn't know
we were playing.
If I were kind, I would carry
this poem inside me where you
would never find it.
Laura Thompson earned her MFA from Vermont College of the Fine Arts and is currently enrolled in the PhD program in English and Comparative Literature at the University of Cincinnati. She is the recipient of the 2012 Jean Chimsky Poetry Award. Her work has appeared in The Tributary, Tiger's Eye, The Guardian, The Fertile Source, and Oysters and Chocolate. She lives in Cincinnati with her tortoise, gecko, axolotl, and hedgehog.