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Amidwives: Two Portraits

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i. a wife will wean


by coming between

her husband
and the woman who

whelped him. And
should he bemoan

the sweet taste gone,
she’ll boast of how she

helped him—helped
him get beyond

his milks at last, and cut
from gums beneath

—the better to shake
her memory with—

permanent teeth.


ii. a mother will woo


a married man who

was once her darling
son. She can’t conceive

of anyone loving him
through and through

as she has done. She’ll
do whatever it takes

to test his trust. She’ll
run a tempered blade

into the marriage
bed and find the naked

place where she was
most betrayed

—and thrust.
Source: Poetry (April 2011)

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This poem originally appeared in the April 2011 issue of Poetry magazine

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Amidwives: Two Portraits

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