Gambling your life in the yellow pages,
I found a name, dialed a number,
rolled the dice and felt you quiver
inside me. Sitting against my womb,
you were barely there, suspended
between alpha and omega, a dwindle,
a sprout, tiny bud among dandelion
and wild grass, a clock ticking too soon.
Forgive me, for I was already timing your
breath, each leaf falling outside my window
numbering your days as on an abacus,
each bird song a mea culpa tolling torment
in the wee hours of morning. You never leave.
Today still you sit on my chest in the quietest
of nights and I still carry your weight in me
the way gods carry punishment, shouldering
the world as their burden, rolling boulders up
a sacred mountain before their repeated tumble.
Fabienne Josaphat is the author of Dancing in the Baron’s Shadow. Her poetry has appeared in Hinchas de Poesia, The New Engagement, and has been anthologized in Eight Miami Poets. Her essay, Summer is an Empty House, made the Notable Essays mentions in Best American Essays 2016, and she was recently a national juror for the 2019 Scholastic Awards. She lives in South Florida and is currently at work on a second novel.