Both of my sisters now
Teenagers remind me
Of how much I hated myself
When they ask about condoms
Or shaving
Why mother said no
When I asked for the pill

At night
I curl up like a baby
Who never was or ever
Will be born

Why the first time
Beneath my bed’s
Blue and yellow canopy
I didn’t bleed why
The doctor had to put
The ultrasound wand
Inside me

I once thought I would like
To be a woman

Once at a bachelorette party
I spilled wine across the lap
Of my jeans
Then in the bright bathroom
As I scrubbed them
A woman sobbed
Saying all her friends
Were acting
Like their cunts had folded up
And put themselves
Inside themselves

I am afraid that my sisters
Are also me

Why a man outside the clinic
Held out a plastic rosary
A pink cross
With white beads on a string
Why he yelled
Across the concrete
That hell would be lonely

Why I’m afraid
There’s still a child inside me

On the day my first sister was born
I wore a tank top and skirt
In the hospital
As I held her
I was twelve then
Almost a teenager

She kicked loose
Of her blanket cocoon
And I handed her back
To our mother
A little flustered
That she moved

Mag Gabbert holds a PhD in creative writing from Texas Tech University and an MFA from The University of California at Riverside. Her essays and poems have been published or are forthcoming in journals including 32 PoemsCarve MagazineThe RumpusThe Boiler JournalPhoebeSugar House Review, and Birmingham Poetry Review. Mag teaches creative writing for the Graduate Department of Liberal Studies at Southern Methodist University and for Writing Workshops Dallas. She also serves as an associate editor for Iron Horse Literary Review. For more information, please visit