Source Mythologies

by Laura Kochman

It’s as easy to become a father as it is difficult to be one.
—German proverb

It’s the first thing you see, those teeth hanging above you
like the points of a drawbridge. This will be your new home.
Goya paints them in the shadows, too steeped in blood to appear,
but Saturn’s knuckles grit together, tight-knit molars,
ready to rip your body down its center,
down the line between your legs until you’re split to fit
like kindling. His eyes swell out,
and is it horror? Did he really mean it? Consider the image:
your father, belly taut, waiting for news of your birth,
for another weight in his stomach, a year of heartburn. Waiting only
to avoid your steady gaze, to open his mouth
without unfolding the blanket. Consider the taste of hair
and new blood sliding down the throat, gathering low in a crowded belly.
The stone sinks. The plan works. Your headless body is only
a smeared apparition. How easily the meat comes off the bone.

LAURA KOCHMAN has lived and written in New Jersey, Georgia, and now Alabama, where she is an MFA student at the University of Alabama. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Front Porch Journal, Word For/ Word, and Bat City Review.