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Kendra DeColo

Kendra DeColo is the author of My Dinner with Ron Jeremy (Third Man Books, 2016) and Thieves in the Afterlife (Saturnalia Books, 2014), selected by Yusef Komunyakaa for the Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize. She is the recipient of a 2019 Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

By This Poet

2

Playlist: 11 Weeks

1. lush field of shadows, static
    hush and radial itch, primordial

2. goo of the sonogram's wand 
    gliding across my belly

3. my daughter blooming
    into focus, feathered

4. and fluttering across the stormy
    screen, the way it rained 

5. so hard one night in April
    driving home from the café in Queens

6. where we’d eaten sweet tamales
    I thought we might drown

7. in the flooded streets
    but we didn’t and I want to say

 8. that was the night she was conceived:
     husk and sugar,

9. an apartment filled with music, 
    hiss of damp clothes 

10. drying on the radiator, 
      a prayer made with a record’s broken needle

11. to become beaming
      and undone.

Weaning, I Listen to Paganini's Concerto No. I

When I’m alone my tits scream
while the refrigerator

hums like a man nodding
off behind me on the bus.

There is never any food
I want to eat and I am ravenous

all the time: soft-boiled
eggs and mint tea. Milk

thick as leftover grease
stored under the sink.

My friend is a dairy farmer,
which means she delivers

cows, pulls velvety hooves
from gaping maws like psalms

into the muck and wet
hay. We haven’t spoken

since my daughter was born
but maybe our friendship

ended when I was eight months
pregnant and she told me about

a stillbirth over the phone,
how the mother

kept licking the calf’s body
drowned in dull light

and I couldn’t un-hear
her voice, no matter how much

I believed it might unstitch
me from my own grief,

the way I became no more
or less beautiful

when I became a mother,
more like the perpetual

frost of astonishment
across a windshield,

more like I was doubled
and emptied, permanently

bent as if tending to a wound
or some unspeakable joy.