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Audio: Read by the author. 


The night of my most pain
a new girl came and was put
in the opposite bed. The mass

inside me pushed like a hard
knot. The silk-like membrane
flamed. The girl arrived

with her mother who left.
The girl couldn’t talk because
her mouth was wired shut.

She watched me as I died.
The entire night she stared
and sipped from her straw

while she sat upright.
Days later when the wire
was removed, she spoke

to her mother. She became
simply a girl with a teddy bear
on her nightgown and a lime

slushy in her lap. But the night
when I whimpered, she was
the god that I prayed to,

and the prayer was the whimper,
and her eyes were the pool
of sorrow where every deity sits.



Jessica Cuello is the author of Pricking (Tiger Bark) and Hunt (The Word Works).


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