Secrets My Body Keeps | Babette Cieskowski

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Born in Oahu, Hawaii, Babette Cieskowski has lived in South Florida, Kitzingen, Germany and Central Texas. She currently lives in Columbus, Ohio where she earned her MFA in Poetry from The Ohio State University. She was awarded an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award for 2020, and her poem “American Sonnet For My Medical History” won Puerto del Sol’s 2020 Poetry Contest, chosen by Rodney Gomez. Her poems have appeared in Compose, the minnesota review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Zone 3, Frontier Poetry, Crab Orchard Review, Prairie Schooner, Juked, among others. 


In Utero


And isn’t purity the goal? Though it isn’t

required to enter me. But when you do, be

calm, like the girl sewing violets into her chest

as she waits for a signal to bloom. Notice

the sleek ways she covers herself, the faint smell

of petals and rot, the time spent threading the memory

of cashmere, brown blood. You ask me of my origins,

that honey thickened glade. This is where I birth

my love: the blood on your sheets, the mud in your veins.