SWWIM publishes, celebrates, & promotes women, women-identifying & Femme-presenting writers through a Miami-based reading series & the online poetry journal SWWIM Every Day.

Cause and Effect by Hannah Silverstein

Some things you do not have to see

to know their meaning.


Some meanings you do not have to know

to see. Water, or ships in a crowded harbor. I dreamt


I was pregnant, and, also, a boy. I was a spy

on a mission in the Mediterranean. Imposter.


I did not watch the State of the Union. I clung

to the lifeboat, trying to remember


the country code

for my librarian, to ask


what to expect, if the baby

would live, or was a baby,


not a dream. The body moves and the mind

rationalizes after. I take a breath


because the air smells sweet—OK.

My chest squeezes cold; I must be afraid.


Yes? No? Google says

pregnancy in a dream


is sign of a growth. Is that good?

Manipulate the body with motion,


medicine, food, sex, but the mind

keeps thinking, what now?


I haven’t felt joy since—


How much is enough?

Hannah Silverstein’s writing has appeared in Si Señor and The New Guard. She has participated in the Frost Place Conference on Poetry, attended a Vermonter’s Week residency at the Vermont Studio Center, and holds degrees from Yale and Dartmouth. She lives in Vermont.

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