Poems & Essays

30 Dec

Bodily Histrionics: A Found Poem

Babyhood No Response

These are the words for hysterectomy
The words for no more children
These are the words written on her body
These are the words that
are her body
now

Dorsal lithotomy position
Endotracheal anesthesia
12-mm infraumbilical incision
Trendelenburg position
Salpingectomy
Colpotomy

They incise her vagina
remove her fallopian tubes
leave her ovaries, a small gift
while she breathes evenly
None of this is a coincidence
she has thought about this 
has let go
the histrionics came with childbirth
the chaos 
first of lack of sleep, of breastfeeding
then of ear infections, pediatrician appointments, 
rushing to daycare before and after work
the guilt the pressure
Do you remember what it was like?
No, she’s made her peace
as they snip and grind and grate and stitch
she radiates calm
no histrionics now

Monopolar spatula
Morcellated bipolar cautery
Vaginal vault ready for closure
Copious irrigation
Excellent hemostasis

The patient tolerated the procedure well
and was transferred to the recovery room in stable condition

Carolyne Van Der Meer lives and writes in Montreal, Canada. She has two published books, Motherlode: A Mosaic of Dutch Wartime Experience (Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2014) and Journeywoman (Inanna, 2017). A collection of poetry called Sensorial is forthcoming from Inanna in 2021. Her poetry and prose have been published internationally.

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