7:1: “Expecting”, by Jennifer Jerome

7:1: “Expecting”, by Jennifer Jerome

for J, after two miscarriages

What genie do you go to, where

is the fish to grant you your three
wishes: a child, a healthy child, one

who will live? You would take anything—
a boy with swan’s wings, or a bull’s

head; a girl with snaking hair, perhaps
a tail that curls and scales the air

behind you. Where is the witch
you must face, the riddle that needs
undoing? You’d eat every poisoned apple,

fight through thickets to towers, rise
up to battle dragons with just anger
and grief to ride on. What god

wants appeasing? The third time’s

the charm, and bad things come
in threes. This bridge you keep crossing,
you are crossing it again, at a pace

you can’t quicken. No one can spell you. But
there you are: expecting the shape—
the smell—of the troll that waits below

your feet; still set on besting that cobbled arc.

Jennifer Jerome is a native New Yorker. Her work has appeared or isforthcoming in various publications, including The Pedestal Magazine, ChiZine, The Comstock Review, Pebble Lake Review, Goblin Fruit, and Astropoetica. For more about her work, cast your ‘net here.

This poem grew out of pain and desire. It was inspired by how they feed—and feed on—the choices we make, and by how we manage to keep moving.

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