Post-Partum by Alyse Knorr

The song of her screaming in our heavy soundproof
               room: there
                             has never been a baby till
today—we all know it—she is

the first despite the supply closet packed to the
                             with pink and blue striped caps and green
rubber pacifiers and white

swaddle blankets in sealed saran-wrapped packets. The
               first and
                             the only despite the nursery
boxes of babies beat up and

bruised from delivery, the baby with a thick beard
                             her chin, the Corvette twins sharing
one plastic crate, a huddled pair

conspiring. Staff keeps calling me a sister, but
               the Dads
                             by the ice chip fridge can tell. Ghosts
enter and exit our room all

day; the TV teaches us how to nurse. The first
                             in the world stares at her fingers,
then sticks them into her eyes. She

is skeptical, reproachful, offended at all
               the light.
                             The night nurse chides me for sleeping
with her on my chest, cautioning

the crushing risks. I needed no reminder—I,
                             crushed myself. Watching her befriend
every shadow tracing the wall.


Alyse Knorr is a queer poet and associate professor of English at Regis University. She is the author of three poetry collections, a non-fiction book, and three poetry chapbooks. Her work has appeared in The New Republic, POETRY Magazine, Cincinnati Review, The Georgia Review, and ZYZZYVA, among many others. She is a co-editor of Switchback Books.