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Women in Labor

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Women who lie alone at midnight
because there is no one else to lie to

Women who lie alone at midnight
at noon in the laundromat
destroying their own socks

Women who lie alone at midnight:
Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates

Women who lie alone at midnight
as the first furl of starlight
pearls the moon with nacre

Women who lie alone at midnight
sending a postcard bearing
the face of a bawling infant
who cries “I am for the new”

Women who lie alone at midnight
reciting the names of shoes

Women who lie alone at midnight
spurting unjustified tears,
the kind that run sideways
never reaching the mouth,
the kind you cannot swallow

Women who lie alone at midnight
singing breast away the burden of my tender
and afterwards burp

Women who lie alone at midnight
obeying the laws of physics
Women who let their dreams curl at the end
Women in a monastery of flamingos

Women who die alone at midnight
contributing to the end, to
lost time, to the rain and flies,
seeing the bird they saw trapped in the airport
surviving by the water fountain

What’s more, try it sometime
It works

Source: Poetry (September 2011)

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

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Women in Labor

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