black metal frame of a window

Poetry No. 79 – Halsey Hyer

Some might say I’m a killer

by Halsey Hyer

in the eyes of the god
I don’t believe in,

in the eyes of the god
I was raised with—

It could be you that says it,
that I’ve killed my baby,

my babies, plural. 
This one is my third.

A list of what was (un)wanted:
A list of what I could’ve had but don’t:

a two-year-old
a one-and-a-half-year-old
an eleven-month-old

The not-yet bodies don’t make me 
a mother, a killer. 

Like the childbearing bodies before me, 
I did what I had to do. I made my choice: 

I locked myself in 
the bookstore bathroom
punched my hips 

until a constellation burst on my skin:
yellows, blacks, purples, blues
in the backdrop of my freckled abdomen

until I bled clumps in shades
I didn’t even know were possible:
cherry red, crimson, maroon, black

Halsey Hyer is the author of [deadname] (Anhinga, 2022) and Everything Becomes Bananas (Rinky Dink Press, 2022). They are currently the Margaret L. Whitford Fellow at Chatham University where they’re earning their MFA in Creative Writing. They’re a collective member of The Big Idea Bookstore and the Events Coordinator at at White Whale Bookstore. Their work can be found or is forthcoming in North American Review, The Boiler, Notre Dame Review, and elsewhere.

Photo by Athena on

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