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4 Sonnettes

Ella Longpre


I broke the egg on the first day of spring
accidentally, cleaning out the fridge
and worried I’d cursed my own beginning
but then I burned my hand on the pan of
noodles, and used the egg to keep my skin
from blistering, a trick I learned from a
woman at work after singeing my arm on
the toaster, absently, still bleeding from
my abortion, I was grateful, there will
be no babies in these poems I won’t
write about motherhood, what do you call it
when you’ve started life in your womb
twice, I was a barista, I was grateful, a chorus of young birds

Have you ever talked to god like a friend
and apologized when you went the whole day
without speaking, like an
unanswered email in summer, unanswered
prayer in reverse like a desire
ooh la la to own yourself like sovereignty like
don’t tete-a-tete with god
since I woke up and watched my first
thought bloom into words, my first
thought, every day, don’t make a mistake,
ok, just be very careful and don’t
let yourself go
go go

someone else’s
my body to care for
what the body doesn’t know it rises
to occasion, it tends to rhyme
to echo like disbelief like learning
like doubling pain by attuning
occasions where pregnant women
open fruit

a lazy metaphor, a blood orange
my breasts were swelling and she was happy
only with me, I passed her
back, we don’t know the story
of what happens only what is shown
to us in error

I still have dreams of water
growing up the wall
you can’t carry water, a different kind of genius
there’s water pooling on the floor
under the garden, a house on a
mirror, my grandmother was born
on the table, there’s a house
in my hand that I hold a hot

a house that’s an open hand kept

a house that’s a hand growing
out of me, going
deep under water, an epiphany, a fragile blue thread
while dissociating
a closed, twisted record you just untied, thank you

Ella Longpre is the author of How to Keep You Alive (CCM 2017) and three chapbooks of poetry, image, and essay. Her work was recently translated into French. Ella lives and writes in Denver, where she is earning her PhD at DU. She can be found in the woods.