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What was left in the sink was blood

so pink and pale it looked bloodless

perhaps they call that tissue

two weeks after giving birth

B said

she stood up from cramps

and hemorrhaged

four cups of blood onto the carpet

in the bathroom alone she gave birth

to the remainder of her son

the strength of women’s bodies

no longer surprises me

rather the unconscious capacity of the mind

to accept and move on

as though all that happens to a woman

can be eventually absorbed

or dealt with silently

by her own hands


ELEANOR GOODMAN is the author of the poetry collection Nine Dragon Island, and the translator of five books from Chinese. She is a Research Associate at the Harvard University Fairbank Center and a recent recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship.


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