In the Anatomical Museum
Past the skull collection, wax model of a gangrene hand
in a specimen jar to the "Plates Illustrative of a Treatise on
Leonet forceps, decapitating hook "used to extract the child
by the head from the maternal passage"
Or the umbilical cord with 26 twists. Or the placenta molded
I am looking for the Labor Scene.
Not the instruments: blade, shank, lock: but the women
holding each other, the women delivering—
Not my dream last night that I was pregnant for the third time
but there was no baby
there would be no "obstetrical interventions" to remove this body
from my body. I would not go down to that place
I'd traveled twice. I would not return
to Cervadil, Pitocin drip, to the birthing room where I had failed,
lifted off the bed on a rubber sheet and wheeled to the surgical
where the nurses tied down my hands
where I breathed the plastic shell of an oxygen mask.
On the second floor the curator draped
a wax model in muslin to resemble a patient on a table,
body for the surgeon to unfold. That place I'd traveled—
a hundred years ago I would not have come back—
Now my two girls running on the lawn beyond
the museum, behind the black gate, my girls
who refuse to be bodiless.