Sarah Kain Gutowski

But before the three gods could begin to create, they had to get rid of the frost giant, Ymir.


Each morning the sunrise runs its rough wet tongue
along the earth and, over time, strips salt from its rock.

The shape of my life emerges: Here, an outcrop of hip.
There, my breast—a precipice from which my children,
also rock, will detach and like a landslide, fall.

These shifting sands are anxiety. This strata, fear.
And underneath, there flows a stirring, liquefied heat.

The creature who wakes and clambers inch by inch away
from this bed of slag is born fighting a great hunger.
It threatens her, like water after rain consumes
the dunes and tender grasses exposed along the shore.


By sunset, I am a creature sucking greedily
on the last light of day. I eat and eat, and yet

I am always hungry, and my children are always hungry.
We fight for what we want. We grow beyond our needs.


Somewhere in this mire, my better self gives birth
to better children, embodiments of faith and love,
not frost and rock and teeth that never stop their gnashing.

May those better children find me and destroy
the wild monster I have become. May they take my body,
my blood and brine, to build the world they'll someday rule.

My brains and skull for sky. My hair for forests of ash
and alder; my flesh for moss beneath the leaves and clouds.

May this hunger be put to rest. May I return
to sediment, the dregs from which I took my birth.

Sarah Kain Gutowski's poems have been published in Verse Wisconsin Online, Verse Daily, The Southern Review, and The Gettysburg Review. She is the author of "Fabulous Beast: The Sow," a chapbook published by Hyacinth Girl Press.

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