The National Poetry Review

Emma Bolden

HOUSE IS THE WORD MY DOCTORS USED FOR MY BODY

My doctors couldn’t make themselves tell me
that I couldn’t have children until they made me

into a metaphor, into a house happy in the kind of story
they’d tell their own children. And in the story I became,

the House I was cried. The House I was felt her façade hot
and snotted and wet. House had forgotten her Kleenex.

And House stays the space that didn’t become a place.
House is not a synonym for nest. House is not an antonym

for full. House is a part without speech. House is nobody’s
property. House is the emptiness that can’t be addressed

in any way that feels like a place. House does not want
to talk about it. I’m as big as a house, House’s pregnant

friend says. House’s mouth makes itself smile, makes itself
into the door that I will never open, I will never close.


EMMA BOLDEN is the author of medi(t)ations (Noctuary Press) and Maleficae (GenPop Books). A Barthelme Prize and Spoon River Poetry Review Editor’s Prize winner, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Best American Poetry, The Best Small Fictions, Gulf Coast, StoryQuarterly, The Pinch, Prairie Schooner, Conduit, and Copper Nickel. She received a 2017 Creative Writing Fellowship from the NEA and serves as a Senior Reviews Editor for Tupelo Quarterly.

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