Alexei Perry Cox (untitled)

Is it strange that I don’t remember

the surgeries on my childhood uterine cysts /

That being a woman as a young girl

was that unconceivable on my own body /

That even after having conceived and born children

I feel the shame of my shame /

That my womb is still mostly knowable to me

as the disfigurement to my waist.

I am now confused when I feel loved /

for being strong rather than being soft.

I do tell things to children now, in whispers and in halts. I try to tell

them things that are important. I try to tell them that I don’t know

what’s important. I wish for their sake my sake. But I’m not sure they

see it yet. They see me though. And I worry about them, about that,

what they see. How do you unsee someone? It starts sometimes with

time and distance getting longer together but it also starts with looking

in other directions or closing one’s eyes. They only close their eyes

when they sleep now. And I’m grateful for the blinking contests

because I’m still winning: I let them see me when I close my eyes.

For their sake for my sake.

Alexei Perry Cox is a writer, editor, and critic published internationally. She is the author of the full length poetry collection Under Her (Insomniac Press 2015) and two chapbooks, Finding Places to Make Places (Vallum 2019) and Re:Evolution (Gap Riot Press 2021). Her next collection PLACE is forthcoming with Noemi Press. She is currently working on two manuscripts provisionally titled (un)settled and Balance/Unbalance and parenting two wondrous young wee ones named Isla Sahar and Ilham Lezama.