the rupture of membranes


Jeremy T. Karn

for frankie,
 
for God's sake, not every bleeding hurts    some tastes
like pineapple juice when it's in the mouth.
my mother believed that prayers could end your bleeding.
 
                        because your blood traveled faster than water in your body,
it dug into your folded skins that held your child.
 
& because your water breaking never came,
so the doctor split you wide open on a table like dried wood.
he slashed, slashed, & slashed, till you were empty
of the heaviness that sat in your womb.
 
that means your child was lifted from the soft burns of your split stomach.
 
that means your body was sewed back into
the  memories of holding a child in your navel.
 
that means a scar was drawn on your stomach to later
show your son his first home.

Jeremy T. Karn’s chapbook, Miryam Magdalit, was selected by Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani for the New Generation African Poet (African Poetry Book Fund), 2021. His works appeared & forthcoming in the 20.35: Contemporary African Poets AnthologyHoxie Gorge Review, Ghost Heart Literary Journal, Whale Road, IceFloe Press, Lolwe, FERAL Poetry, Kissing Dynamite, Up the Staircase Quarterly, Olongo Africa, Liminal Transit Review, Auto Focus Lit, Stone Poetry Journal, Afro Literary MagazineEremite Poetry, and elsewhere. He is the 2020 winner of the ARTmosterrific editor choice award. He tweets @jeremy_karn96