The Answer to Everything
Elizabeth Langemak
  When her legs struck out shuddering
  like fat lightning bolts, or my breasts turned

  to stones within stones on my chest
  and I couldn’t tell hindmilk from foremilk,

  I distrusted my collapsed tent of gut.
  When she wouldn’t sleep and so no one would

  sleep, or vomit flew like a fist on the end
  of a long, gloved arm from her throat, it made me

  a child who wanted the answer and now.  I was the why,
  why, why, months before she could mutter

  my name.  I knew better, but still.  On the phone,
  in the fever, in the scuffed doctor’s office

  with my list and all I’d forgotten to write
  there, in the rectangular glow of my phone

  in the long, parsed night, I acted like someone
  could tell me. I acted like I wanted to know.
Elizabeth Langemak lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.