After Birth

by Jennifer Dracos-Tice

I want to see it
splay in its glimmer bed,
branches veining under
its veil of red, roping
and threading to the organ’s thick margins.
Amnion manta ray, filter and feeder.

The metal tray pulls the scale
whose needle jumps, corrects.
Focus on your baby, the OB instructs,
but I strain to glimpse

that ruddy braid
—oh, purple wizened hand,
            heart a-swirl—
last bit of us bathed in my blood.

The doctor shifts, lights glare.
He whisks bowl and bowel away,
discards the flattened contents,
hands me the dry-wrapped bundle.

Tonight, my son cries in his plastic crib
next to my hospital bed. Something stirs

in silt under a planet’s worth of water,
lodges its barb deep in my belly
and tears.

JENNIFER DRACOS-TICE teaches and lives in Atlanta with her wife and kids. Jen has published poetry in Crab Orchard Review, San Pedro River Review, Stirring, Rogue Agent, Still: The Journal (2016 Judge’s Choice Award), and elsewhere.

Photo: “red” by jessmonster

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