—accurate in each fact

Her birth tickled pink her four grandmothers.
She was their first grandchild, their baby girl.
Many hands smoothed her hair, she looked like them—
they swaddled her in love.
Still they foresaw trouble following her
since God lived in the pocket of her father
who despised her from infancy
for scaling her crib rails at naptime.

As she grew, she embarrassed him in front of them.
Her punishment was her own embarrassment:
back home, he left open the bedroom door,
forced down her pants, called in kid bros and sis—
which hurt her more than even when the Godly pain came.

He has to know she cried again today when he
growled by text from six states away,
that he still scares her into a corner on the floor
and seals off her breath. Her arms still protect
head from slams into walls.
Her siblings to this day don’t know what to say,
so they’ve never said anything at all.

Traumatized kids often turn up pregnant
and bipolar from always wearing shoes,
ready to escape the hand over mouth
when they hyperventilate.

They laid out her punishment for creating her son
in a specific set of rules: 1. she had to hold in her stomach
(even though they pulled her out of school and hid her
in the laundry room), and 2. she would incubate up there
lost to her grandparents until that baby could be given away.

She is forty two now, and their punishment
is still Godly in its creativity—
from glue in hair, a sold off teddy bear,
to: your firstborn should butt out of family affairs,
in May, if you obey, you may speak to us again.
So she should be grateful to this day
they turned her into a poet.

Where God Stores Miscarried Souls

They arrive on a black factory belt, are conveyed down
the line in blood puddles, poured into jars the angels seal,
pack, and stack to store in the back corners of God’s

Around them, gears zip and unzip together their spokes,
smoking turbines roar, moving halted human possibilities,
while growling ceiling mouths vent frost down into the
warehouse, sealing lids on all those tadpole souls.

Sometimes a woman doesn’t know she bleeds a weeded-out
seed of potential personhood. And while she sleeps, God’s
pipes suck down this fertilized creature that just couldn’t root
in its mother’s womb. Sometimes a woman doesn’t even know
her lover touched her innermost place, like a silent meteor
soaring through space.

Some say our souls begin existing at conception. And from then
they can never be destroyed. So where do they go when they
lose their Earthly lives? I refuse to believe God burns them
in Hell. And tell me, do you believe you have to believe to
have eternal life in Heaven? A being that tiny cannot believe.

So the Lord must store the miscarried somewhere. Do His
Hands scrape little ghosts from their wombs? Are they
processed and labeled abandoned and unloved? Are they
orphaned things wailing in God’s mind?—not through
open mouths, though, they have no fists to shake…

If a soul does come to earth at conception, how many
possibilities have been conceived by God then flushed away
to drown? I want to touch those souls that lived in me briefly.
Are they stacked somewhere namelessly on shelves all around
me? I am a mother, created to nurture.

But I dream sometimes I’m standing in God’s warehouse of
anonymous souls—surrounded by more lost beings than I could
ever comfort or hold.