I worry of
everything. Perhaps an ectopic
growth: lying prone inside five months.
Register likely signed in absentia.
The midwife, possibly a ghost
(only there when eyes are closed).
In the theatre wake-dream doctors discuss rugby, maybe.
And what if the scream is breech – flesh hot as if tearing
apart? Conceivably neither he nor she and the surgeons will not see
which sex is less cursed.
Worst risk of all: to birth a perfect girl
and feel, completely, nothing.
Plenty girls worry now, the doctor says,
eyes fast on the shock
of a belly stretched at fifty years.
Women, that is,
and up snaps the speculum.
She tells of one patient –
an exchange student – who didn’t bleed for ten months:
anxious about exams.
The girl thought it was a curse! she brays.
Imagine. I do not want to
because the men who made this tool
practised on undrugged slaves.
Anyway, it’ll work out okay for you eh?
Just tell the old man to get the snip.
If he wants, that is. Plenty people
having kids like this, not too many risks.
A wife with braids is in the hallway.
From her size, her eyes, it is also too late.
Behind another door someone soothes
ooh, yes, that’s a good girl.
Through the screen’s gloam
in two dimensions, yes, you’re there:
our anonymous babe. My entire
life seeds in your swimming digits.
Not two days later, something
blooms where I wake.
Limbless sea-woman, I refuse to rise, to make
the loss complete till he finds me.
For days I sketch the Birth
of Venus from the couch.
For weeks I teethe green fruit
and finger the dictionary till the
eve he catches me
we no longer need. He does not ask.
into my cunning he runs
his mouth, tipping a litany:
each syllable, our hurt.
Every name is an irony.
Later we unfurl and
cede to sleep. In time
I shuck off the covers,
donate the books and booties, taste
life’s thorny oysters.
And yet some evenings still
I ask Eden how once
was enough to make you.