After Hysterectomy – Leslie McGrath

In heaven’s infinite space for souls, deep in its overgrown back acres there must be stockpiled all that was shed in childhood (milk teeth, tonsils, appendixes) until the spirits housed in them are ready to let go the rest of the body. A platform, a reunion place. And nearby, a medical midden, because even the disposed-of is returned to mama or papa. There awaits the prodigal tissue from nose jobs and knee replacements, kidney, lung and liver transplants. Tons of cartilage and gelid bellyfat iglooed in the gloom. Dozens of pallets of foreskins piled like neatly-folded opera gloves gives the place an electricity of recent applause. But only for the wombs dangling like earrings from the castaway ribs of the waist-obsessed. Only for the wombs—because no matter her race or religion, no matter her intelligence or age, a woman surrenders what she’s told she must surrender.

Leslie McGrath’s interviews with poets appear regularly in The Writer’s Chronicle. Winner of the 2004 Pablo Neruda Prize for poetry, she is the author of Opulent Hunger, Opulent Rage (2009), a poetry collection, and Out From the Pleiades: a novella in verse (Jaded Ibis Press, forthcoming). Her chapbook focusing on mental illness and stigma, By the Windpipe, is forthcoming from ELJ Publications in May. Her poems have appeared in The Awl, Agni, The Common, Slate, and elsewhere. She teaches creative writing and literature at Central Connecticut State University, and is editor of The Tenth Gate, a new poetry imprint of The Word Works press.

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