Valerie Wetlaufer


Look at my babies. They twist in their crib, they spit up and gurgle but they do not cry. I have decorated the nursery with purple clouds and clowns, though the circuses and storms frighten them. Later I will bathe them in the sink, blowing in their faces so their eyes will close when the water runs down. I feared their birth and, in the end, my body wouldn’t let them go. The doctor split open my stomach and pried them. Their legs were tangled together unnaturally; malformed. They will wear braces and casts to straighten their limbs and the stares from other mothers in the street; unbearable. Only one of them will live. I have to choose.

Valerie Wetlaufer, a native of Iowa, has lived in Vermont, Paris, Florida and Utah. She is a Vice Presidential Fellow at the University of Utah, where she is a Ph.D. student. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Word Riot, The Gay & Lesbian Review, Poemmemoirstory, La Fovea and Bloom.