B Y   J A N E   C R A V E N

​​H E R M E N E U T I C   C H A O S   J O U R N A L

 Jane Craven lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill and has worked in corporate systems development and as the director of a contemporary art museum. She was recently accepted into the North Carolina State University MFA-Poetry program and her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Texas Review, Cold Mountain Review, Tar River Poetry, Columbia Review, and Atlanta Review.

F I C T I T I O U S   C H I L D


At first I thought, how shallow to wish you 
attenuated as a branch on a fruited tree, 
neither limb nor fig, but the gap 
            as one lets go of the other. 

I am having trouble making you 
                                   more than nothing. 

I think of an explosion 
with all the necessary ingredients for life; 
carbon so you will have a pencil 
to write with, phosphorous so you can glow 
while swimming, sulfur for a quick temper—
               and still, I come up short. 

If I gave you a body, you would be 
oblivious, not seeing that you and it 
were two different things. 

Then for years, you would be ashamed,
 and would wish for another. 

Finally, not long before it begins to fail, 
you’d discover a deep love for your mortal 
shell with all its tender aches nestled 
              like pearls in muscle.

And what would the world do 
        with you—its overwhelming 
existence, heavy elements of sky water earth 
that have no need to learn
                                       to live without us.  

Spare me the tiny fingernail parings,
         the hidden box of baby teeth. I did not
want you enough. I wanted you to be me.