I have his baby in the arctic tundra. I dig a hole in the snow drifts so high above my head it’s as if we are two seeds. When the dream baby cries, I ask it to remember the gut of a whale, how brittle our bones in a grizzly mother’s mouth. He never comes trapesing through the snow, feet secure in our one pair of snowshoes, safe to pluck us up like two ripe beets. I knew before the dream I’d have to do this alone, the digging & the baby in this godforsaken place, as if like god he would leave me this work without asking if I’m afraid. I let the baby nibble on a fox nose, keep it warm tucked under my own fattened chin. Together we hunt ptarmigan to make a feathered crown. See what I can do? Hands deep in a caribou’s ribs, placing the baby inside.
Christen Noel Kauffman lives in Richmond, Indiana with her husband and two daughters. Her hybrid chapbook 'Notes to a Mother God' (forthcoming, 2021) was winner of the Paper Nautilus Debut Chapbook Series. Her essays, poems, and stories can be found in A Harp in the Stars: An Anthology of Lyric Essays (forthcoming, University of Nebraska Press), Tupelo Quarterly, The Cincinnati Review, Willow Springs, DIAGRAM, Booth, Smokelong Quarterly, Hobart, and The Normal School, among others.