Howl, or Think of It Like This:

Judith Ohikuare

for M. Mitchell

Picture a womb that says, Closed! I don’t give life cheap. Tell me a charge
wouldn’t run through youI’m not asking you to agree. I’m saying, Imagine it.

Ask what else could be imagined, even if you don’t agree. I’m saying, I’m through.
I’ve tired of all sides, navels, hips. I’ve cut out, slipped away, selfentombed.

Maxine said they cut her at the navel and hips, slipped her tubes out by her sides;
smiling, she claimed to heal like Wolverinehad never felt more alive.

She smiled like a wolf while telling methe lines of her healed, ashine.
I wanted to feel that new again, I could have cried. Let’s just say it’s the end.

Let’s say I want to feel new again by ending with me. No crying;
no cryptic, somnolent genes. No emergent face like mine. No child.

I’ve emerged from the cryptic: No likefaced child of mineO, somnolent
genetic hope!is coming. I am here and trying to make that enough.

I am here and trying to make that enough, coming to hope
as I picture myself charged not to give life cheapa woman untold.

Judith Osilé Ohikuare is the Operations & Development Director at NY Writers Coalition, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit that provides creative writing workshops for historically underserved and marginalized communities. Judith has written for various publications, including Condé Nast Traveler and Essence; worked on staff at Refinery29, Cosmopolitan, and Inc. magazines; and served as an editorial fellow at The Atlantic. She has performed at Lincoln Center’s “Poets on the Plaza” summer reading series, is a 2023 Fellow with poet Shira Erlichman’s “portable creativity school” In Surreal Life (ISL), and her Best Microfiction-nominated story “Occur,” published in September 2022, can be found in the literary journal CHEAP POP.

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