“Child” by Audrey Zhao

Audrey Zhao (age 15)


The first day in spring in 1998,
you realized I would not move your womb.

The doctors said it would be alright.
Next day: “She’s suffocating; your womb buries her alive.”

I came out red and swollen,
an angry thing disturbed too early.

I fought grasping and swallowing the world whole
and you did not know how to protect

a thing so delicate,
one who did not see how close

it was to simply not existing,
to simply disintegrating and falling

apart like the placenta, the afterbirth,
in hydrochloric acid.

I fight you; this is evident.
You sigh forever and hold me close.

from 2017 Rattle Young Poets Anthology


Why do you like to write poetry?

Audrey Zhao: “It’s strange to see this poem again three years removed and still know the reason why I write poetry is simply because I can and want to—there really is no other more profound explanation.”

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