In the Union
We never ate the mollusks nor wore away at the sepulcherean seal. We joined forces with the many, arms woven through the crook of our neighbors’, we made our way forward. And where was forward? For wherever we ventured eventually the gate swung down, the spikes appeared, the signs all read closed. To stop us, to block us, to halt us in our tracks. We talked. We talked and talked, mostly to each other, our words spilling out like the red spit of oral infection or blood blocked that will spill from ears, nose, throat, eyes, like the tears of The Pietá, the mother who cried her son’s blood, carnations budding from marble—that saxifrage of womanhood, shut, shrunken, lost. No, we never broke open the shells to empty life down our throats, to swim in our own salt. Instead we would insert metal or rubber or plastic or pills that retained our water and clotted our veins. We were women. We didn’t care for our bodies; we gave them over. We handed them willie nillie to others. In a cornucopia still, limpet-like and lovely, we continue the slow, salty slog along the surface of the earth.
Poet and essayist, Rachel Neve-Midbar’s collection Salaam of Birds won the 2018 Patricia Bibby First Book Award. She is also the author of the chapbook, What the Light Reveals. Rachel is a current PhD candidate at The University of Southern California where her research concerns menstruation in contemporary poetry. You can read her own menstrual memoir essay Traveling the Red Road in The Account. More at rachelnevemidbar.com