Because every woman wants to be handed her own
Heart, stillborn, you handed off mine,
One red lozenge on a heap of slow
Offal and sweetbread, and asked for walking papers.
To put it another way,
Because every poet wants the classification of
poet, insisted I was not one. Were you pushing me
Toward grapes and laundry and childrearing,
I’ll never know. It was summer. We were your children.
You preened for one girl with milky skin
And a monkey’s nose. You crowed, a poet!
The first thought. The second
daughter should content herself with God.
Because I wasn’t, I rebelled. And pushed
Into that heart, sludged through
With pearly purulence, purplish red of an angry
newborn and singing. I cry to think of it.
I cry to think of your own satisfaction,
One heart without purity of intent, My own
Beautiful heart! Its breathing hole at my ear.
My heart’s panging and skittering set your skin to
A crawl. One heart the size
of my fist, which is to say
Small, one compressed chamber
with a small hole I imagine to be singed,
One misprint of an organ singing about fear
And spite. I follow it deep down into the night.
The room shuttles and pounds. One piping hole
In one stillborn heart, whistling, finally unafraid
of your approval, undesirous of it either. At night,
While neither of us sleeps, while you trace
The edges of proscribed beauty in your restless world,
I follow the sound of the sound down into my own red heart,
Sing along. Because every woman is a midwife,
It is one red interruption, my bleating heart, still alive.