A friend of mine is close to term with her first child, and, right on schedule, that means she’s beginning to worry about the birth. To stoke the fires, here’s a poem from Julianna Baggott’s newest collection of poems, Compulsions of Silkworms & Bees. If you haven’t read her before, get this book, it’s fantastic.
Eve Recalls Birthing and Her Discovery of Metaphor
My baby’s purple head newly wrung of blood
reddened. Adam rubbed his body dry, no longer fish-like,
while I fisted my own stomach, to push out
the shining clots as dark red as bruised, ground-rotting apples,
my stomach, too, like the softened fruit, the way only the skin holds shape
when the inside has turned to meal. My belly dull-colored,
almost gray and empty, I was the first to see how one thing
stands sadly for another, emotion mingling sweetly,
cruelly with the world. I knew what it was to be
not free, but freed from, to be the garden left behind,
not just the willow, but all the sagged limbs weeping.