by Catherine Zickgraf

Paper neighbors drape my couch.
They hold the baby,
bake casseroles I can’t taste.
I nibble when he sleeps
or sleep when he naps
after I’ve boiled the bottles
and washed some spoons.

I awoke this morning on the roll of toilet paper.
Seems it cushioned my cheek sufficiently
when I slipped near dawn down the tiles.

Postpartum lasts at least half a year.
Thin autos slide up my street,
off to someplace paved in clover-grass
or Berber carpet—where people work
and talk and think.

I fit only in sweat pants snipped
prepartum down the stomach band—
my waist still wide,
broad hips unyielding to denim seams.
Mommom gave me her long sweater.
He calls on me often to unbutton it, lift shirt.

Between gray walls and bolted doors,
I exist just to nurture this wiggling child.


Artist: Darvianna Major

Originally published in The Legendary, October 2009
Catherine Zickgraf has performed her poetry in her hometown of Augusta, Georgia and beyond. Her work has appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Pank, Victorian Violet Press and The Grief Diaries. Her recent chapbook, Soul Full of Eye, is published through Aldrich Press.