Because My Mother Told Me to Pray About It


Shannon Ashley

Once a month, I prayed for bleeding
that ran smooth, a period like silk 
shining in a dark sky, but God
gave me the crescent blade. His hand
reached through my spine to squeeze 
my empty belly, twist fallopian tubes 
until my eggs were crushed in his palms, 
slipped into blood shed through his fingers,

so I turned to science, popped a pill every 
morning until the stream slowed to spotting,
a momentary blush instead of copper 
decay clenching from belly to back. And now 
I turn to science again, so my wife and I 
can round that belly out, fill it with baby 
cheeks and kicking toes, but my mother says 
good Catholics don’t change biology, 
and I wonder what God’s hands will do.

About the Author

Shannon Ashley is an MFA alum currently working as a tech writer. In her off-time, she writes about family, home, and often mental health. She lives in Missouri with her wife, three dogs, two cats, and (soon) her baby boy. She has been published in Curating Home, an anthology of Kansas City poets, but Permafrost is her first magazine publication.