Before the Wedding He Asks What I’m Thinking


Chelsea Bayouth


I always assumed Mama and I would

raise the baby.

I’d move back home

swollen and broken

and she and I would tend to

the pregnancy like village women.

The child,

product of my apathy and some boyfriend:

The drunk with the beard or

the man on whose floor I woke up

covered in ants.

Somehow, there was never a baby.

Or if there was,

something the size of a kidney bean

dripped out of me late, like cave snot

to my whispered

Thank You’s.

Forgive me. I never thought

I would wear the hand

of a glimmering lake

and fall asleep in a home near

a man who smells like laundry.

When there were accidental mushrooms

growing in the back seat of my Toyota

I was sure I deserved

the year-long anal fissure

the recurrent throat infection

the car wrecks.

Forgive me Something,

I never knew

it could be like this.

That I had the right.