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Ann Ward


Fifteen Mouths and Two More


men named Ron like to pinch the back of my neck
monitor my water intake
I can smell their hotdogs boiling from down the hall
I’m fed, have cans of orange soda
you wouldn’t believe how my breasts have grown
I had to change my porn keywords
to see the new ways I would sway over wet sheets
there are children tucked everywhere now, lovingly
clipped tags of swaddle blankets on kitchen floors
the Rons save the hotdog broth to make macaroni
outside the window there's a child in a cape
sucking on a packet of diner jam
today the Swiss woman said, 
“intimate racism is as natural as a mother slapping her child”
I remembered her at the grocery store
her son’s legs in the shopping cart’s pokey seat
nous avons besoin du pain mon p’tit
I whispered to strangers “she slaps him, her little boy”
and my breasts fall forwards and slide back
with a tug like dropping your heavy backpack
after emptying your locker on the last day of eighth grade
before you’ve returned your library books
and you bend over to sip metallic water from the fountain
while a Ron watches closely
measuring the difference between pinches and slaps
before his fingers close on your neck
and twenty years later
you are still sore
fed and ignoring the pain of the swell



Baby Girl


she is 10 and I can see her face on instagram
and now that I’m not there where is she
she has a new puppy
her best friend's name is Allison
her bio says basketball 4 life
there are twelve basketball emojis
there is a baby boy in my belly
and I thought that would scare me
the ordinary miracle of a woman’s body growing a man’s
but then I saw a picture
and the penis was so small and nubbed
a bending wrist
as harmless as a knee without a body






Ann Ward is Senior Poetry Editor of Cosmonauts Avenue and Co-Curator of Springhouse Magazine. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Washington Square Review, No Tokens, GlitterMob, and Contemporary Verse 2 and elsewhere. Ann is an MFA candidate in fiction at UMass Amherst. She tweets at @CatamarAnnie.