UNDERGROUND | Caitlin Gildrien


“Yep, this left one’s still being a punk,” she sighs,

twisting the ultrasound wand, which she has condomed,

lubed, and slipped inside me. She twists it again,

eyes fixed on the monitor, its reflection

flashing her glasses to silver coins.

Funny, not to be looking

for a heartbeat.

“Righty here seems fine,

but that left ovary…”

She twists, peers

into the dark water

of the image, the map drawing itself

inside my body, cyphered lines swirling,

swimming, white blobs rising

to the surface & blurring away.

The word “biopsy,” and then

her mouth cinches closed. Silence

fills the cavity of the room like fluid


I am to swallow one white seed each day,

and this will rake Persephone’s garden clean.

This will make an enemy of the sun.

This will still the clever hand of the moon

that plucks each ripened grain and builds it a raft

and a river.


“Try it for six months,” she says

A frost in my belly. Copper on my tongue. The screen

goes raven-black. Swallow.

“Then come back.”


Caitlin Gildrien is a writer, graphic designer and erstwhile farmer living at the foot of Vermont's Green Mountains. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Hopper, Poets Reading the News, the Rise Up Review, and Alligator Juniper. You can find her at www.cattailcreative.com and @cattail_caitlin.