One night in an empty gallery an artist crochets herself into a womb she starts at her feet working the bone-tipped needles until she is disappeared inside of a homemade uterus knit of mohair and bloody dye.
The instructions for erasing yourself into a womb starts with the feet, the last part of the description reads: This is the Path to Reincarnation, hand-craft a uterus comprised of mohair, blood, and dye get inside. Don’t think transcendence don’t think sex or bird or body or repeating mouths don’t think love.
Imagine, the Path to Reincarnation reads as a description on a wall in a museum. That after death you will be invited back to birth yourself. Think animalistic sex bird that transcends mouth, think love on repeat body think of cardinals slaughtered in cosmic radiance. An entire landscape by your hands.
After death you will be invited back to birth yourself. You will need a museum you will need bone-tipped needles erasers an invisible womb Your hands re-knit the landscape a radiance of cardinals slaughter the cosmos unrecognizable for the span of one night in an empty gallery an artist
On the drive to the farm we talk about the taste of cherry and how most horses are born before dawn.
As if they understand morning light looks better on the wet matted fur of creatures newly escaped
from the confines of a body. It’s freezing pre-dawn–I am too young to share your coffee,
my breath hotter than the air. Your pick-up, rusty at the wheel bed. Frost at the base of the windshield.
The smell of dog. Men like this always have dogs named after their mother, or dead sister and the mass cards
glued above radio dials to prove it. When we arrive, the pregnant Appaloosa is frustrated,
laid out on clean blankets trying to give birth, her body unable to release the child. These kind of babies
stand moments after birth, you say. All of the animal’s nearby sound like they are dying.
It’s only one horse giving birth but the others mimic her cry from their stalls
even the males. You tell me to put my whole arm inside of her, to the shoulder
to feel around, to hook the rope around the hooves of the baby, but I can only feel the neck.
This is the first time my body has ever been inside of another body.
The air is impatient. I slip twice on viscera and the heartbeat I feel with my hands from the inside
of the animal starts to quiet. I don’t tell anyone. Finally
I get the feet hooked with rope and fasten metal stirrups to the frayed ends.
You’re not wearing gloves. We brace our heels against a wooden partition and separate
baby from mother. He doesn’t stand. The slick beige, half-spotted body
is laid in a heap, behind the back of his spilled open mother. A glowing
pool of fur in the burnt sunlight. Years later, my children will be born in the evening
they will have no hair on their arrival. Years later, I will remember the farmer insisted
I leave as he readied his shotgun and I slid the barn door closed, listening
for sound, for metal released into metal, for the hinge to relent.
-- Kate Sweeney is a poet living in Los Angeles. She is Marketing Director for The Adroit Journal, and Word is Bond, a community-centered poetry reading series partnered with AAWW that raises funds for transnational relief efforts and mutual aid organizations. Kate has a chapbook, The Oranges Will Still Grow Without Us (Ethel '22), and her work has appeared in Northwest Review, SWWIM, The Shore Poetry, etc., and is forthcoming from Muzzle Magazine.