My stomach’s talking to me tonight, 66 hours after root planing, trying to tell me it’s bored of the soft food diet it’s been eating for the past two days: all smoothies and pasta. I wonder if chemo patients’ stomachs get bored too. Probably just cranky. All my mother would eat before her cancer: enchiladas, spanakopita, pickled okra; then after: only lasagna. Its noodles rippled like the curtains that fluttered in the wind picked up by the Seattle traffic the day she died, curving in and out in perfect arcs of off-white. My mother spent her last night singing Girl Scout songs to her sisters. I’ve got somethingin my pocket, it belongs across my face. Illuminated blue dust drifted outside her window with a plane in its background, undoubtedly full of families, and that one baby that’s on every flight wailing. But before you get mad, you must know: that baby’s the cutting of a prayer plant, opening and closing its mouth, trying to incant something only our bodies can understand.
Kelsey Ann Kerr teaches writing composition at the University of Maryland and American University, and holds an M.F.A. in Poetry from the University of Maryland. Her work can be found, or is forthcoming, in "Stirring: A Literary Collection," "New Delta Review," "Mezzo Cammin," "The Sewanee Review” and "The Atlanta Review," among others. Her poetry also has been nominated for Best of the Net 2017.