To You Who Are Not Yet Conceived

I imagine it a place like death. Wholly separate, disinterested.
You are not interested in me. Yearning, affection—
these are living things. Like the dead, you’re free of them.

You cannot hear me. Or these thoughts rise around you
like soap bubbles in sunlight, (or whatever’s there that makes
the edges shine), then disperse. Waking, home after

surgery, I got up to cross the living room. The nightgown
pooled down my skin. That crossing was an open field.
I felt my lower belly tug, incisions trying

to reopen, cuts where tools had sunk to see
if the rooms were infested or needed repair. I felt
all this, but I didn’t care. Like you, it was outside

of me. Like these words, round, but thin as breath,
a decorative, meaningless syntax. They can’t touch
your endless peace, your lack of need to be.


Elizabeth Harlan-Ferlo

About Elizabeth Harlan-Ferlo

Elizabeth Harlan-Ferlo’s poetry was recently published in Fourteen Hills, Poet Lore, and lockjaw and is forthcoming from Think. She was in residence this summer at the Vermont Studio Center. Elizabeth received her MFA from the University of Oregon and lives in Portland, where she taught religion and ethics for many years. Read more at
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