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The Wanting

Put simply, the wanting was for one thing only:
to plant a seed. To bear fruit. Never mind
the world was ending. I closed my eyes
and saw Shivashakti: Destruction himself
making love to his wife. I saw a tank gun stuffed
with daisies, the dance of nitrogen and algae.
I tended sunflowers and a few heads of cabbage,
paper machéd my fence with one dollar bills.
On YouTube, a trembling black rhinoceros
lay on her side, dying of old age. I clipped the weeds
and warmed the cream. Whisked four yolks
with a quarter cup sugar. These were the last days
of our leisure, simple pleasure—
giving blood meal to the kitchen window tomatoes,
eating a sandwich of roast beef with horseradish.
Meanwhile, humanity waged a long war with itself,
unable to stave its great paper hunger.
At eighteen, brave and bursting, I shared a house
with two heroin junkies. They ate only ice cream
and white sugar with a spoon.
I thought they were harmless enough, but now I know.
They were killing their mothers.
It was hard to know how much longer we had.
The weather was terribly unpredictable.

I could neither numb nor fool my itching womb.
The wanting kept me spinning thread between finger and thumb,
wondering what could be sacrificed so that I might be blessed.
Tigers, I thought, I would miss, but countless others were already gone,
unnamed and unnoticed. I watched. Some eggs hatched, others were eaten.
Some kittens nursed, others lay inert. A robin careened into the greenhouse,
slumped into the geraniums. I left him there to die in peace,
but he didn’t.

 

Photocredit: Wikipedia Commons via Creative Commons

About the author

Ambalila Hemsell is the author of Queen in Blue (University of Wisconsin, 2020). She was born in Magnolia, TX, and grew up in Colorado and South India. She holds a BA from Reed College and an MFA from the University of Michigan. She is a former Writer in Residence at InsideOut Literary Arts in Detroit. Her poetry can be found in The American Literary ReviewThe Florida Review, Ruminate, and elsewhere. She lives in Tacoma, WA, with her family.

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