By Jill McDonough Jill McDonough
Hand and foot, from head to toe, the body we know
like the back of our hands, we say, patting our palms
since we don't know back from front, don't know our ass
from our elbow. I help Liz find her vagina to use
a tampon her first time, Brooke tells me what to expect
during a blow job, Jeff says to let the funneled
force of Coors hold open my throat, a stranger
gives me Valium when I reach for her hand
on a plane. Now Depo, condoms, the Pill
make way for FSH and BBT, how the sperm
that makes boys goes faster, dies sooner,
like boys, says Joanna, holding her little girl.
Laura's fingers flick to show how the dye popped open
her fallopian tubes. Rita Mae says a 48 year old's sperm
could cause autism, Esther says kids are nice but they
do ruin your life. Billy's friend announces,
out of nowhere, I am so happy with my decision
not to have children and none of us believe her.
X shopped around for the perfect Jewish eggs, Y
injected her belly, evenings, with little syringes, the bruises
blooming black, now purple, now yellow and green.
During implantation the nurses played soft eighties hits—
I bought a ticket to the world, I know I know I know
this much is true. She says in the ultrasound her ovaries
looked like bunches of grapes. Z has a baby at forty-two—
in vino she and her husband joke, in vitro
a no-no in the Roman Catholic Church. Encyclicals entitled
Donum Vitae, Dignitas Personae say why: the human person
is objectively deprived of its proper perfection: namely, that
of being the result and fruit of a conjugal act. The church,
thank god, is soothing, confident, ready to clear all this up. Life
a gift, human persons dignified. And we, most of us,
are perfect, because fathers put their penises in moms.

Jill McDonough, "Preface" from Where You Live. Copyright © 2012 by Jill McDonough.  Reprinted by permission of Salt Publishing.

Source: Where You Live (Salt Publishing, 2012)

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Poet Jill McDonough

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Living, Life Choices, The Body, Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Men & Women, Social Commentaries, Gender & Sexuality, Popular Culture

 Jill  McDonough


Jill McDonough is the author of the full collections Habeas Corpus (2008) and Where You Live (2012) and multiple chapbooks, including Oh, James! (2012). Her editing projects include An Invitation to Poetry: A Classroom Guide for Instructors (2006), which she edited with Maggie Dietz and Robert Pinsky, and Forgotten Eyes: Poetry from Prison (2001).

The recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fine . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Life Choices, The Body, Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Men & Women, Social Commentaries, Gender & Sexuality, Popular Culture

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

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