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Empty - Anna Stolley Persky

When I’ve had enough, I beg for help, so

the doctor slices through my abdomen,


two putrid-ripe babies through my flayed skin –

They ignore me, wailing, these creatures, coated in cream and anguish.

And I wonder, as I am stitched back together Frankenstein-style,

whose babies are crying and can someone shut them up?

Eventually, they turn pink and sleep on top of my belly.

They follow me around the room, and whisper moist nonsense in my ear that I pretend to understand and maybe do.

During raucous games of peekaboo, we convulse laugh until we fall off the bed, toppling all over each other, collapsed in a heap.

And now, when they’ve taunted me into hand-clenching rage,

with their fuck you farts and hockey-tough teen stances,

I hide myself inside the bedroom mirror, reminiscing about sleepless bikini nights, back when they were invisible silent seeds. When I could have stopped it all.

With cautious fingers I prod the purple line, the puckered skin,

the destruction they left behind.


Anna Stolley Persky is an award-winning journalist who has been published in a variety of newspapers and magazines, including the Los Angeles Times and Washington Lawyer. She received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College and her JD from University of California, Davis School of Law. She has three children, two dogs, and a fear of heights.


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