Anita Olivia Koester is a Chicago poet and author of four chapbooks including Marco Polo (Hermeneutic Chaos Press), Arrow Songs, which won Paper Nautilus' Vella Chapbook Contest, and Apples or Pomegranates, forthcoming with Porkbelly Press. Her poems have been nominated for Best New Poets and Pushcart Prizes, and won So to Speak's Annual Poetry Contest, Midwestern Gothic's Lake Prize in Poetry, the Jo-Anne Hirshfield Memorial Poetry Award and others. She is currently the managing editor of Duende. Her poetry is published or forthcoming in CALYX Journal, Tahoma Literary Review, Tupelo Quarterly, Phoebe Journal and elsewhere. Her work as been supported by the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, Vermont Studio Center, and PLAYA.
Woman belonging simply to the rest between beats,
to the scatter of clouds
& the slow curve of the round circle.
To the slender crescent at the tip of your nail.
Don't bother calculating my absolute magnitude,
I am merely a head resting on a pillow
& a mouth waiting,
I was pregnant in my dream,
attempted birth but nothing would leave my body.
Like a field of wild raspberries
my manic hope spread
wound round my limbs as I woke.
Ghost, holy or not, put your mouth to my belly
and blow, grant amnesty to my uterus,
cut these locks and release these latches.
When an Atom absorbs energy
it becomes excited, when Eve — pregnant.
A goddess might venture inward and set a trap,
pull a lit lantern out of the sky
& ingest all the rivers of North America,
and still there might be no first moment of life.
When people ask, I tell them I'm writing about my uterus
how its walls collapse, and how though I contract
it refuses to expand.
"Constellation with False Moon" is part of a series of constellation poems which contemplate my own personal connection to the night sky. Women feel a special connection to the moon because of our monthly cycle, and for many years the moon represented to me a love that I lost. Because I imagined having children with that person, the moon has come to represent my stymied desire for children. As my desire for a child grows so does my fear that I might not ever become pregnant; this anxiety is one I know many women experience in their thirties and forties. It took a long time for me to both admit this desire to myself, and to be able to write about it.