It's just poetry, it won't bite


08.08.09 Posted in Observation, today's words by

Cooper is a professor at the University of South Florida specializing
in late 19th- and early 20th-century American literature. Her articles
have appeared in or are forthcoming in
Arizona Quarterly, Paradoxa, and Modern Fiction Studies. Tova blogs about children’s literature with Catha Worthman at
She is the mother of a rambunctious three-year-old boy named Leo. Her
poem is a strongly metaphoric account of coming to terms with the
changes wrought on the female body by the act of giving birth. It is
powerful and evocative (and might make a man or two feel queasy–be
forewarned!) and it juxtaposes the lovely with the wrenching in a
profound and violent way.
By Tova Cooper

Tissue overgrows
seaweed-flowers in my
unthinkable. A rent
in the searing.

A clear mind is not always
preferred innocence. Her unmooring
the color of kidneys, an
unhinged organ deflates on

cold linoleum. Maze without a center
or exit. Gnawing and knowing
a thin stretch of remember,
a tight unforgetting.

One Response to “Afterbirth”

  1. Rae says:

    I find something new in this poem every time I read it, some new turn or twist that reflects unexpected images and meanings. It’s a gem.

    The final lines are particularly potent:

    a thin stretch of remember,
    a tight unforgetting

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