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Poetry and Medicine
June 12, 2002


Author Affiliations

Poetry and Medicine Section Editor: Charlene Breedlove, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 2002;287(22):2910. doi:10.1001/jama.287.22.2910

I will cut you here
and here, she told me.
I will run my knife faithfully
along this line and open you,
just so, and separate the muscles of your belly,
cutting the diaphanous membrane that covers the tissue,
but not—no not ever—
the muscle itself.
That I prefer to leave
as I find it, intact.
Once inside
I will lift the plaits
of your being and look within,
where your womb has grown too big,
and I will pluck it out
and set your womb to roll
softly in my silver dish
like a pear you might find
fallen in the wild grasses beneath a tree,
its lush ruined flesh gathered
not by human hands like these
but by bees, who will bear your loss
to their dark queen.
And you will sleep,
never knowing the words
we said over you,
and I will come and raise you up from your bed
and we will walk together,
for I will want to see how you walk afterwards,
and we will walk down the hall
to the sound of your feet
slipping lightly over the tiled floor,
and the space I left inside you
will be the darkness
you turn toward, later,
when you begin to imagine
another life.