Here Lies a Woman by Claire Taylor

Here Lies a Woman

Out of my mouth come six serpents
a horde of fire ants
a wake of vultures feasting
on the remains of the women
I might have been. My belly is a volcano
hungry for disaster. In the moment of crisis
they’ll shout women and children first!
and it’s true—
we’re always the first to fall. Somewhere a womb
aches while I morph into a pack mule
on the way home from the playground. I am
a jungle gym. A funhouse. Forever
a plaything. A disembodied voice
asking one time too many, twice more than I’d like.
In spring, the builders start the renovation.
They dig up the wet earth, pour the concrete.
That’s me, I say, pointing to the fresh foundation
and we both laugh like I am joking,
telling half truths.
As if I’m not buried,
lost to the ground, thick in the dirt,
holding up this whole life.

*

Claire Taylor is a writer in Baltimore, Maryland. She is the author of a children’s literature collection, Little Thoughts, as well as two micro-chapbooks: A History of Rats (Ghost City Press, 2021) and As Long as We Got Each Other (ELJ Editions, 2022). You can find her online at clairemtaylor.com and Twitter @ClaireM_Taylor.