“An Unfunded Study of the Afterbirth” by Sarah Wolfson, appears in the Winter 2019 Issue of MQR.
When it had been seen to
that the grayness had
receded, that the birthed
could breath and suck, that
the mother had uptaken
several stitches of a fiber
as powerful in every sense as
spider silk, that the after-pain
had shrunk down to a boot
abandoned in a puddle,
the child who would sooner
than I could know spin phrases
like “I’ll heal” and “I hate
you” slept with contentment
uncharacteristic of her recent
world-leap. Then, when the bustle
relaxed into coffee and crosswords,
and the nurse turned on her lazy
ether of success tossed with
almost finished, almost perfect paperwork,
I asked to see the placenta.
They brought it smooth side up,
bearing it like friendly handmaids
but also perfunctorily as if to say:
this is a duty and a game;
smell the wine but don’t
complain. It was red, of course,
the red of held-togetherness,
the red of monk-trampled
cordial, and smooth as all
get-out. It might have been
the moon, not the hidden, snarled
rootball of its underside. I liked it.
It looked fine in its stainless
steel pan. It glowed, but I didn’t
want to take it home.
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This poem appears in the Winter 2019 Issue of MQR.