Credit Harriet Yakub

The Five Stages of IVF

The boy stands in our garden
holding all of the snow.
He can’t be a snowman,
I insist. He is far too young
for frostbite. He might
be mythic. Or prophetic.
Did anyone see him arrive?

The snowboy’s eyes are
kingfishers. Blazing countries
we would like to visit.
Behind him a
squirrel is stealing
all of the food. Bending
over backwards – winter
Olympics. The young boy does not
blink, cradling his snow globe.

The whole world is a blizzard.

We refuse to talk of snow
babies incubating in fables.
How their fingerprints
are the scattered names
of endangered species.
Instead, we dip our palms
in icing sugar and press
our mouths to the window.

Our longings skitter
around the kitchen
like so much white noise.

Trying to Gain Entry into the Republic of Motherhood (after Liz Berry)

I asked to cross the border into the Republic of Motherhood
and found myself in a waiting room, an overgrown waiting room.
When my name was called, I took off my clothes and I let them
scan me – knowing these borrowed instruments were used
by the already-mothers, searching the waters for their seal-like
babes. I removed my wig and shuffled down their bed. They parted
my legs, relaying their instructions, then sent me to work
on the Farmland of Motherhood. I stabbed myself twice daily,
injecting resilience, collecting purple-blue badges as prizes
to claim access to the Republic of Motherhood. My body bloomed,
turned itself into a chicken, my heartbeat going boomboomboom
as drugs spooled through the factory of my body. I mentally
decorated our home to make room for us all. As required,
every week I sat with my sisters in the passport office at
the Department of Motherhood. None of us looked sideways
but all of us loved each other. Surely, I thought, I would die
for these women and their carefully chosen leggings; I would die
for their frantic calendars and their nervous laughter – and if
I could, I would stamp every single visa, cry out
that we should storm the royal banquet (to which we had not
yet been invited), and stuff ourselves with riches before
declaring our corridor a part of their country. But no.
No, that is not what we did. We patiently queued, then we
got back to work; cherry angiomas freckling our skin.
Our bloated bellies hungry, so hungry, they rumbled all shift long.

The Trees are Part of the Process

It seems so predictable
that I grew these
eggs in springtime.
That we let them
rest over the summer
as farmers peered
beneath their skins.

Then, naturally:
in the orange months,
when only one
of them remained,
we let them place it
inside my womb.

Of course, we waited – for two
weeks made of Sundays but

I don’t know what
to tell you, except:
the autumn leaves
are dying, and we
cannot stop them
spiralling, cannot stop
them entering, cannot
prevent their fall.

This Doesn’t Have a Name Yet

I have nowhere left to fit this
sadness. Now that I have
birthed it, it insists on running
around – all naked and vulnerable
and occasionally giggling like a
swimming pool.

I step into the kitchen and
drench myself in it. Its chlorined
aesthetic. And, around the walls,
its grief-soaked tote bags
full of the things that
no one really wants. The stuff
that can’t go to charity shops – can’t
be left on people’s doorsteps,
like I’m the stork of whatever this is:
the Santa Claus of joy
I am forbidden to experience.

So, instead, I tread water.

On Sundays I am the Easter bunny.
Cracking eggs into batter
and slamming the oven door
so hard I hope it breaks.
it doesn’t, because for some
reason I cannot explain I am still
so bloody gentle – and this is
hilarious, because (right now)
my anger is staring
at the oven
as if it were the sun.
Some God of Light that I could
bribe with gingerbread or cake.