I am a home
for something, not myself.
Last night my husband said
he could leave here any second,
just say the word, having outgrown
this one bedroom, this lack.
I’m not ready, can’t picture anything
outside myself in a week’s time.
I want a Thursday night,
tight sequined skirt, tugging it down my thigh
as I sit on the subway. A stranger to look,
see the real thing under my skin, the whole
of my twenties laid bare and repeated again,
one long carnival ride after another,
mango sunset, cotton candy smell,
winking lights turned music, dancing across
a wide mirror, baby teeth sharp, black
along the gum, my bare feet, cracked glass—
I don’t feel good. And the children next door shriek
as they take to the elevator, go down nine flights
for fresh air. Snot dried to their lips,
hands sticky as they press the button down
until it beeps. How little I want
them, how bad is that to say? My stomach grows
sore, my back aches in preparation.
I don’t think I like myself
enough to make two. Motherhood: a form
of vagrancy, no body my own. Manhattan skyline
strips down, without shadow. The sidewalks blaze.
June at last. It nearly happens to me.
Christine Degenaars has work published and forthcoming in several journals, including Nimrod International Journal, Cider Press Review, The Laurel Review, and KGB Bar & Lit Journal among others. She is the recipient of two Bishop Kelleher Awards and an honorable mention for the Bennington Award. She is an MFA candidate in poetry at Hunter College and lives in New York City.