Kikos read by Katie Kehoe

It’s possible I think to mourn imaginary things.

Armenians tell a folktale of a girl
who falls in love, and believes
she and her beloved have a child.

She carries a rock in her dress pocket
naming him Kikos. When the stone drops
down a well, she calls to her husband,

“Kikos, our child, he’s fallen in!”
He has to take her hands in his,
he has to tell her “that’s not a baby, it’s a stone.”

Some rabbits eat their newborns
rather than letting them starve
or be taken by a fox.

I knew my mother didn’t want us
but she’d comb my hair in wonder
after a bath, “so much like hers as a child.”

The ultrasound told me what I already knew
scar tissue, a burst, no poppy seed to track.

Katie Kehoe lives in Greensboro, NC. She’s published in Bayou Magazine, The Appalachian Journal, and elsewhere. She was a finalist in NC State’s Poetry Contest (2019) and winner of the Truman Capote Poetry Prize (2012). She holds an MFA in poetry from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and currently studies library science at UNC Chapel Hill with the aim of making books and writing accessible to all. When she’s not reading or writing, she can be found baking bread or mucking around in the woods.

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