Once the body
was wrenched whole
from my body

I deflated
sank back into being

a vessel
returned purposeless
to its shelf

I hadn’t known
until first
the father

and then the son
swelled to fill
my emptiness

that I was
a space
a lack

that walked
through the world
or danced

or rested hollow
swinging her legs
on the future’s sill





Francesca Bell is the author of Bright Stain (Red Hen Press, 2019), finalist for the Washington State Book Award and the Julie Suk Award; and What Small Sound (Red Hen Press, 2023). She translated Whoever Drowned Here: New and Selected Poems by Max Sessner (Red Hen Press, 2023). Her work appears in ELLE, Los Angeles Review of Books, North American Review, Mid-American Review, and Rattle. She lives with her family in Novato, California.

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