“Both Goal and Medicine” by Becca J.R. Lachman

Becca J.R. Lachman


These days, I rarely recognize my body: 
jeans two sizes smaller that still won’t 
stay on hips, hair pulled back in 
a once-in-a-decade ponytail. 

There are moments—folding up

the stroller in one muscled pull— 
accidentally signing off a late-night 
email Live you instead of Love you— 
that I breathe out all the dying 

we’ve played landlord to, even

if it’s the laser of prevention, choir 
of turned faces behind the daily
numbers, begging our parents not to 
leave the house again. And mostly,

it’s been keeping you alive, learning how

to make formula, to get through a day
on three hours of sleep and the hum
of wonder. I practice caring for you 
as both goal and medicine, even on days 

when pain takes up its usual residence. 

After 20+ years, I don’t fight it, pull up 
a chair instead. But I wonder how 
I’ll tell you about my body without you 
someday fearing it. For now, the best trick 

I’ve found when I can’t stop your wails, or 

you’re trying to roll over on the changing table, 
is to break into “Caro mio ben” as if I’m alone, 
once again, on a lit stage in a long black dress. 
Without fail, it stops you, mouth open, answering 

my wonder with wonder. Let me show you 

this body, breaking          into music, knowing 
what else, no matter what, that it can carry. 

from Rattle #75, Spring 2022
Tribute to Librarians


Becca J.R. Lachman: “I’ve worked in the magical land of public libraries since 2015. The library system I work for has seven branches in former southeast Ohio coal towns. We were the first in the nation to offer bikes for checkout, and one of the first to get rid of late fees so that our materials were more accessible to all. It’s this forward-thinking, brave-punk spirit fueling most public libraries that will keep me in this field. Being a small part of something that helps make lives better is important to me. Every day is a surprise. (Did someone just dump a rooster and a box of kittens near the book drop? Yes. Is that patron possibly overdosing? Yes. Do these kiddos come to the library every day until closing because they know that, unlike at home, it’s safe here and staff always have some food to offer? Yes.) I encounter people, places, stories, conversations, and disparities I would not otherwise—this definitely affects my writing.” (web)

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