Before I Have Kids

by a contributor

JJ Lynne

I want to feel
what it is
to question
my own curiosity –
to bring the raw skin
of my cheek
to the raised tops
of a range of knuckles,
brushed by the
slip-covered bones
of a lover’s hand.

I could learn
to ride a unicycle,
rather than to stand
on two flat feet –
oscillating between
former and future
selves to find balance –
to roll like a bowling ball
in a metal gutter,
avoiding the moment
of impact.

I ought to craft a map
of my mistakes
and burn it
in a steamship’s furnace –
making smoke of the moments
where monsters sleep
like vermin concealed
between mattress and sheets.
Only then can I force the bow
to thrust toward
the climax of collision.

I should listen
to what women say
about watermelons
squeezed from lemons,
like elephants extracted
from a magician’s hat –
shining at center stage
before stampeding the spectators.
The fruit seems sweet
until it plants its seeds in hollows
that once held wisdom teeth.

I will study
how to cultivate
children – like saplings –
memorizing amounts
of water and light, or
discipline and the right
time to wipe the drops
from a daughter’s face
after too cold a scolding –
to watch myself grow
in bodies I cannot control.

JJ Lynne is a recent graduate of Merrimack College where she earned her BA in English. Her poems have won first and second prizes in the annual Rev. John R. Aherne Poetry Contest and her poetry and photography have recently appeared in The Scrambler, Common Ground Review, and [PANK] under her birth name.

Also check out JJ’s poem Vacancy and her 5 Things You Should Read.