An Unfunded Story of the Afterbirth

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“An Unfunded Story 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.

Purchase MQR 57:5 or consider a one-year subscription to read more.

This poem appears in the Winter 2019 Issue of MQR.

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