The woman in the operating room was surrounded by blue drapes, her abdomen prepped for an open womb, the release of a new body slick with biofilm. From the girl’s throat came the subtle noises of a young animal, calmness dissipating like woodsmoke as the cavern of her mouth searched for milk. Her still-closing fontanels contained instructions for the burial of a daughter within a daughter: Reveal the foxhole of your chest Fill it with salve and maidenhair Fold the child into it until she has learned to swim, to navigate waterways choked with pondweed, lungs swollen and blooming with oxygen and salt—
Kristin LaFollette is the author of Hematology (winner of the 2021 Harbor Editions Laureate Prize) and Body Parts (winner of the 2017 GFT Press Chapbook Contest). She received her Ph.D. from Bowling Green State University and is a professor at the University of Southern Indiana.