Alison D. Moncrief Bromage


A tumor formed of cells of distinct heterogeneous tissues foreign to the site of the tumor and rising from an embryological abnormality. From terato – Greek for ‘monster.’


                 As mutiny
live in a kidney-to-be

I did rear inside a twinship
the dint of frenzy.


Like the grey-eyed one
born from the head

of her father, full grown
in armor and come tapping,

I, the one misbegotten
in the begetting, am a Chaos,

a yawn when this body world began.
Am Teratoma, the flesh made monster.


A gibbous bulb
a cobble of lawlessness

         I am to be, to be
not a spear
but a fisthead,

a sistermass seen
as a kick from within.


We doubled in twinship
and in doubling

you swallowed me
by folds of skin

tucked me in,
and kept growing.

I turned on myself

a mouth of tail
tail of mouth.


In our rash chambers
I came unto you

as a scapegrace
a smalling pock of din

simple as chance.
A ball of bedlam

in the side of an innocent babe.


There was no other place but inside you
for myself to be sealed in self.
No other place for the beginning of we.

Packed so close            sistertwin
how could I not              chaosfuss
touch                            cinch.


And what happens first in the divide of cells
becomes what is and what shall be. I
sistercell was interrupted   was
an amniotic half-life plucked.
And so the earth began without               me fully.
And you                       but the one proxy.


At our birth, you did cry out
and spread your arms as if falling

to catch your first breath.
Then I did come into the world too

a new place to call new
me embedded in you.


We were one and then
cut down the middle

by the great unknown
and its ceremony

were opened up
         as the cavern
that began the world.

You had me out
         from where
I caught light of you,

brooded on that one line,
         and fattened.


As in the great divide
        of the domed earth: a quarter
water, quarter fire; so was our great split

of skins. What came
         from our cluster
was part you part part me.


My name, Teratoma, monster am I.
I, a lot of lonlies, of half hearts.

In the chasm of our body
are mysteries, ones like me





You were the only

Sisterself ferried across
the line between

the cloaked shadows and the born.

I swear, on my death

I was meant to be

formed and quick.


And so did come
back to you as sick.

Not come loud like war
but hushed as suckling

and silent as if inside
a wooden horse, as if

under the bed, packed
in a fever shed, come

to the place as the Chaos
in body huddled on body


A sistermass
as the vast mouthpiece
of the enclitic fussing

of halves
not all

together alone
in the world

not all

together alone
and come tapping.

Alison D. Moncrief Bromage's poems have appeared in the Paris ReviewDenver Quarterly, Barrow Street, Copper Nickle and elsewhereShe's been a finalist for the Gulf Coast Poetry Prize, “Discovery”/Boston Review Poetry Contest and a Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship. She has taught Writing at NYU, Southern Connecticut State University, and Yale University. She was the recipient of a Rowland Fellowship for her work with high school students in rural Vermont. She now lives in Branford, CT with her husband and young daughter.