By KC Trommer
She could always imagine the child
and now it hovers inside, betrays its surprise.
Since June, her body has shown outside
what she wanted to contain. Her body is a window
closed first by fear, then boredom, now suddenly opening—
It has her, all right. She marshals toward the day.
Better to be a different sort of woman, she thinks. One day
she might get there, embrace it all, resist nothing, hold the child.
But for now, it’s too sudden. They see it as an opening:
now the fix is in, now she will stop with the surprises.
They cannot wait to tamp her down, even as she opens the windows
that could ghost her away. She knows there is an outside
they want her to forget. The apartment collapses outside
in, the plates and cups leaning away from the light of day.
Give that girl something to hold on to as she leans out the window
to see the tops of trees, all the while feeling the child
coming. Her husband says nothing’s a surprise;
this was what they wanted. For him, it’s an opening,
but for her, it’s a door she can never shut. She marvels at the opening,
what it lets out. She wants what she thinks is outside
her, to trust herself and welcome the surprise—
Her head drags through the day,
and she cannot lift it, though she wants to say, “Here, child.”
to reassure it, herself. The blinds come down over the windows.
Alone, the city alights over the trees, windows
framing the solitude where once for her opening
seemed the only way. Now she folds her arms, thinks of the child
that will fill them, tries to remember when outside
was fuller than what she found every day.
She bequeaths this love to the boy—a boy!—the surprise
of it. What does she know about boys? Surprise!
She dares him to wonder at how each window
frames another brightness, how each day
contains boxes within boxes, each opening
to reveal a new delight. She stands outside
him, now a protector and not a child,
the surprises ever opening
windows to the world outside
into which every day, you must go, child.
KC Trommer is the author of the chapbook The Hasp Tongue (dancing girl press, 2014). A graduate of the MFA program at The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, KC has been the recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize. Her poem “Fear Not, Mary” won the 2015 Fugue Poetry Prize and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She has been awarded fellowships from the Table 4 Writers Foundation, the Center for Book Arts, the Vermont Studio Center, the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, and the Prague Summer Program. Her poems have appeared in Agni, The Antioch Review, Day One, Octopus, The Sycamore Review, Prairie Schooner, Poetry East, and a number of other journals. She lives in Jackson Heights, Queens with her son.