Canto CXCV

The antenatal midwife’s art is subtle,
so when she talks about painful contractions
she coyly phrases them as “powerful”

during her warm and flawless exposition.
She shares a pithy yarn about another
midwife who used the curious expression

that each woman “would open like a flower”,
which wasn’t quite as helpful to the one girl
as she was wheeled to the caesarean theatre.

But who’s to say that when flowers uncurl
they are not screaming? Who’s to say that pain
does not seep through the murkiest tendril?

Who’s to say our bodies do not turn
through their own phases—that we animals
don’t flourish and fade with our own seasons?

The red lines form a jagged, Aztec trail
around your swelling stomach. When my palm
finds their pattern at nightfall I can tell

that ground frosts have been banished, Spring has come.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. peter litton
    Mar 17, 2012 @ 00:51:39

    I especially like the forth and fifth stanzas…nature being particularly visceral.


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