leah wasacz


leah wasacz



My female friend

says she'd lend me

her uterus

if she could.

I laugh and say

yes please

and she chuckles


and then we’re silent.


My eldest sister, pregnant,

and on the phone, walks

over, grabs my hand, and

drags it to her belly

without my consent.

I feel my

niece kick.

For a moment, our energy

is one; reaching a hand

into the misty valley

of pre-life

and prowling, I find

a finger to grab onto

from inside the mist.

My face flushes red

when my shoulders twinge in,

that realm forever quarantined

from my view, I an exile

wandering the borders.

I tell my sister to never do that again


I am an IKEA bookshelf

packaged with all the

wrong pieces.

I am trying

to construct myself

from the instructions

written in French

which I do not speak.


My youngest sister says

She will be the "world's

best aunt."

I resign myself

to second place.


On the train, I see a

baby in a blue onesie

with stars.

I want to steal him

hold him

feed him.

The family leaves.

I breathe



I keep dreaming

of my water breaking

and the waters break

I keep drowning

I awake


eyes wetting.


At the hospital

it is the eleventh hour

of waiting.

My mother

cannot find it in herself

to stop fucking complaining.

Everyone teeters.

Finally the hour of reckoning

is upon us

we enter the room

there, my eldest sister, yellow and

exhausted, is alive.

In a perfect little cradle

is a little swaddle of blankets


I cannot stop crying

when I hold my niece for the first time

She could become anyone

This little bundle of skin and blood

home of infinite hopes.

The opposite of dying,

softly sleeping, and breathing,

like time flowing backwards,

or flowers bursting into bloom,

a baby

at last.


My niece cries.

I hold her to my shoulder

and pretend she is mine

but she won't stop.

She can smell

that I'm not natural.

But I am natural.

The way she laughs is natural

and the ache in my heart

and my smile

is natural, too.


It is not

that everything

is on fire.

Rather, it is

a slow simmer

in the back of my brain.

Once in a while

the old tormentor

cranks the dial

just to watch

the flames glow.