editor’s choice award

BY Talya Jankovits

I am one body.
I am many bodies.
Bodies inside
bodies. I am
my body on top
of his body, beneath
his body, becoming
one body as we make
bodies inside my body.
I am a
sweating body.
Breasts on a body,
over, marked by midnight
cries that once stirred
my body. Sweet milk
staining sheets until
tight, greedy lips latched
to my body and I am
suckled like nectar
out of my body,
into baby bodies.
Now those babies
have grown into larger,
small bodies that rise
as buttery sun melts
nighttime. My body
next to his body
to be somebody,
some body
to other little
until more bodies
poke heads into
shadow cracks,
waiting for me to
emerge, to embody
their maternal body.
I scoop reaching
hands and lead a row
of bodies to
shuffle their bodies
to here and there as I wave
to other somebodies with
bodies like my body—
loosened gut and stretched
marks in lines of bodies,
forgetting already that
hours ago, I was his body.
When the home is emptied
of their young bodies
I try to remember I
wanted to be somebody.
A Somebody.
But success drifts like
a lost body and I feel
like a nobody and then
the sky is near crimson
and all the little bodies
are home again.
My body is
bodies into beds.
My body is a bone
deep tired body,
it is a
of a body that
longs to be more of a
somebody but rests solid
next to his body amongst
bedrooms of their little
dreaming bodies and I know
it is enough for this

Talya Jankovits’ work has appeared in a number of literary journals. Her short story “Undone” in Lunch Ticket and her poem, My Father Is A Psychologist in BigCityLit, were both nominated for a Pushcart prize. Her micro piece, “Bus Stop in Morning” is a winner of one of Beyond Words Magazine’s, 250-word challenges. Her poem, A Woman of Valor, was featured in the 2019/2020 Eshet Hayil exhibit at Hebrew Union College Los Angeles. She holds her MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University and resides in Chicago with her husband and four daughters.

Image Credit: “Rooting” by Adam D. Weeks