Labor and Delivery, Part I – Kristin LaFollette

The woman in the operating room
was surrounded by blue drapes,
her abdomen prepped
for an open womb,
the release of a new body
slick with biofilm.

From the girl’s throat came the
subtle noises of a young animal,
calmness dissipating like woodsmoke
as the cavern of her mouth
searched for milk.

Her still-closing fontanels contained instructions
for the burial of a 
                        daughter within a daughter:

        Reveal the foxhole of your chest
        Fill it with salve and maidenhair
        Fold the child into it until she has learned to swim,

		to navigate waterways choked with pondweed,
lungs swollen and blooming 
with oxygen
and salt—

Kristin LaFollette

Kristin LaFollette is the author of Hematology (winner of the 2021 Harbor Editions Laureate Prize) and Body Parts (winner of the 2017 GFT Press Chapbook Contest). She received her Ph.D. from Bowling Green State University and is a professor at the University of Southern Indiana.

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