A Refrain in Utero

by Kathryn Merwin

You knew me first as a craving;
rose hip stew simmered brown
over peppered crayfish– I smelled life
on the windows, grandmother shifting stories
into steam, walls summer-slick
beneath peeling yellow paper.

I whispered in your cold-
pressed ear, your stethoscope, I warbled you
a litany. I kicked you
in the rib over the julbord, holly grove and caged
bird: you felt my roots spread. Felt the tide
rise in your stomach.

We met at the solstice, over lingonberries
and sweet golden Pommac. I split your body,
two hemispheres of home, one little moon
tethered to a planet. I know
what your heart sounds like
from the inside.

Kathryn Merwin is a native of Washington, D.C. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in the minnesota review, Permafrost Magazine, Folio, apt, Notre Dame Review, and Jabberwocky Review, among others. In 2015, she was awarded the Nancy D. Hargrove Editors’ Prize for Poetry and nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She currently serves as Co-Editor-in-Chief of Milk Journal and Managing Editor of The Scarab.