The Way We Swear It

Bodily. By kelp
& wakame. By small,

oily fish. To save
an ocean, we

will leave it.
To save our ground,

we’re planting bluestem,
then burning. Being

woman, I know
to shed, to go

toward new
moon like underground

room. Come out
fetal & drumming.

I swallow herds. I
swallow the sun, & if

a child is female
she carries

all her thousand
eggs inside her

mother & the mother
carries double

all those oaths:
I will be razed

for you & then
you’ll burn me

to ground. You
are the ground &

I’m growing
giant & sunward.

*

Aubrey Ryan’s work has appeared recently or is forthcoming in Ant-, Best New Poets, El Aleph, Phantom Limb, Quarterly West, and elsewhere. Her poems have received awards from The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, Consequence Magazine, Booth Journal, and Tupelo Press, and have been nominated for three Pushcart prizes. Aubrey is the Writer in Residence at the Midwest Writing Center in Iowa where she lives with her husband and small son.

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