By Jennifer Givhan
I couldn’t have had post-partum depression.
Yet I did.
I, a depressed mother.
Heavy with pressure;
mercury in a tube, heating
at some invisible fever:
I took someone else’s kid,
promised to love him always,
but there I was, wanting to dig
my fingernails into his thighs.
Wanting to rise through ashes
though there shouldn’t have been a fire.
I, a mother. A hypocrite.
Post-partum depression I could have forgiven
myself. Baby blues. Hormones.
in the sleep deprivation
a hundred years away
from Yellow Wallpaper.
But what hormones when my womb was empty?
Post-what if I was never full to begin with?
was a 2010 PEN Center USA Emerging Voices Fellow, as well as a finalist in the 2011 St. Lawrence Book Award Contest through Black Lawrence Press. Her work has appeared widely, most recently in Rattle
, The Los Angeles Review
, Stone Telling, The Acentos Review, Crab Creek Review, The Santa Fe Review
and The Southwestern Review
. Originally from the Southern California desert, she now teaches composition at The University of New Mexico and is working on her first novel In the Time of Jubilee
. You can visit Jennifer online at www.jennifergivhan.com