“Carriage” by Zea Archer

Issue 18 / Summer 2019 / Abortion Ban Protest Special Issue



Serenity: Metastatic cells. High numbers that should be low, and low numbers that should be high. Fertilization. Light and dark watercolor lines. Receptivity and reciprocity in all of microscopia including myself. Space as it moves through time, time as it wades through wanting.

Courage: Phone calls to my sisters. Film flash. The narrative arc of someone’s emotions. Muscle tightness.

Wisdom: Regeneration. I cannot arrest what’s been created, I can only make what wants of creation.



Oh, you! Do you exist?

Last week I felt my thread tug, something on the other end of me, awakening and alive. A fever dream or something real? You, a dream, still—or something real?

These days have been lush—damp mornings and blue evenings—and waiting is heavy, though not a burden. I am comforted by the passage of time, filled as it is with supposition and squinting. Dear thing—we wax and wane with the wanting of you.

This week your mom did a wild implantation dance in our living room—leaping, arms swooping and receiving, joyous and unbridled. I laughed from the couch and asked if I could record it. She said no, but I’m doing it anyway.

I’m not ashamed of our magical thinking, leaning on feeling, reading all the signs. I believe in the way we asked for rain from the sky. It always worked, eventually.



She holds a ginormous, ripe strawberry in her palm like a heart and guides the knife with her thumb, scalping it, and discarding the wilted stem in one swift motion. I’m worried for her fingers so close to the serrated edge—too much force and her palm could be cut, blood pact for a Sunday morning pancake.

We’re both waiting for blood. A ripe opening, a failure of some sort, berry juice, squandered potential. (Can potential live as small as a seed? Can potential live vessel-less?) It comes, and we say, “That’s okay.”

She cuts, I wash. She carries, I hold.


Zea Archer is a writer and librarian living in Northern New Jersey. Her poems, plays, and reviews have been read and performed in queer spaces, including Skin to Skin, Your Name Here, and The Lesbrary. Her nonfiction work on (impending) queer motherhood appears in Hot Metal Bridge.

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