by K. Danielle Edwards
I feel bound to him by the gold around my finger only,
My ring finger has rejected our union by breaking out in a rash of refusal and rejection.
House-arrested hormones and the horror of my heart have given me
the gift of new allergies, wound around my finger like a straw string.
My finger is red, inflamed, flaking, crusting away.
Just like the horizontal incision six inches above my pubes
That they have cutely called the bikini cut.
He does not acknowledge that he has been complicit in wrecking my womanhood;
the noble delineation that has historically divided the real women from the pretenders.
He does not care that he has been an accomplice in the denial of what was once
rightfully, righteously and reasonably mine by God's design.
This was my virtue. They blasphemed my blessings with their robbery of my womb.
He watched, defenseless, like a cave man without a rock or a stick.
And we have the nerve to debate over how to ameliorate Roe vs. Wade.
These days I want to wade—no swim, no drown, in the cesspool of my disappointment,
My depression that suffocates me like quicksand and makes me wonder how I can stand
to embrace the happy face I am supposed to paste on like a donkey's tail.
After all, it's not about the means, it's about the end.
"You have a healthy baby. That's what matters."
And to think of how I came when she was conceived,
In utero, I thought she taught me more than I could ever teach her;
I believed that I would conquer modern medicine and achieve
A birth of old, aided by a maiden versed in the ancient art
and assisted by the man with whom I had created this life.
But to do so would have cost too much; there was no price worth a positive experience—my life, her life, he told me. We were not priceless, after all.
He does not know exactly what has happened.
He only witnessed what transpired.
I was shrouded in an open-to-the-back gown like a mummy, not a mommy.
Wheeled away gurney-like, as if I were dead, into a bright-white room not like the eye of heaven but of a foreboding doom.
This is my penance for being woman.
I labored daily for 39 weeks before the main event, my personal Cirque de Soleil.
Tangled in saline IVs, doped up on Stadol, a catheter between my legs, siphoning the tears that have dripped down there;
An ineffective epidural slinking into my spine three times…
Looking into the light at masked faces, feeling like the subject of an alien autopsy, pricked and prodded but still feeling too much, before they put me
under… asunder… I wonder...
Did bed wenches feel like this?
My womb turned into a wound—Caesarean-style.
K. Danielle Edwards is a Nashville-based poet, writer, and communications professional. She is the author of Stacey Jones: Memoirs of Girl & Woman, Body & Spirit, Life & Death (iUniverse) and is the founder of The Pen, a creative writing workshop at the Tennessee Women's Prison. She is pursuing a Master of Arts degree in literature. Her work has been featured in The Tennessean, Africana.com, The Black World Today, Timbooktu.com, ParentingExpress.com, and Mamaphonic.com.