The Placenta Effect
I've gone deep-diving into conspiracy theories, looking for root causes for the war within my body. Someone suggested patriarchy, but also matriarchy. Twitter said it's down to my lack of frequent pregnancies. That babies are invaders arriving in placenta ships and when the enemy departs the war must go on. So my having survived two placenta wars in the immune galaxy wasn't enough— my body still needs something to battle. I never thought of my babies like that. I suppose it's theoretically possible I didn't raise enough children, pouring out my life blood and not holding anything back. Certainly, people will line up to tell me that.
Maybe I haven't been living right, clinging to outmoded beliefs like old baby food jars long past their sell-by date. My mother said it was my father's fault for leaving us although I suspect my budding breasts were a contributing factor in that particular abandonment.
I've been studying the historical records of hypochondriacs and wondering if my religious doubts are a factor that only medication or a thorough confession can abate. Like every sick person I've cast my symptoms wide over the internet, chasing down desperate strategies, ludicrous theories that at first, for a time, seem to loosen the binds that anchor me to the limitations of the rational mind-racing to get ahead of the reality of this particular hellscape barrenness, before pain yanks me back.
I was married seven times (or was it eight) and yet I loved more the doula who tipped wolfsbane down my throat as I gave birth to seven children (or was it eight). More precious still were the poems I howled into the marble arches above my crowned head, words pouring out like blood, transfiguring the secret couplings (he never said he was my half-brother), the sacrificial offerings, the still births. You'll find my poems written on the underside of the doula's long skirt, the one she promised never to wash, never to rend, never to forget. I could not contain what came out of me. Let history be kind to me, let my name carry its own weight. I never wanted to trade in death. I fought for my constituency; yet poisons and treaties were my only agency. My loyalty split me open like a pomegranate, like a rotten cask. Ruby red seeds of betrayal bejeweled the bodies draped across the thresholds of my ambition. All my poems, my children, my dreams, now lie buried in unmarked graves. Who will remember me?
After various stints in urban universities as staff and adjunct, and working as a freelance writer and editor all while raising two kids, Sarah
eventually found herself sidelined by a chronic illness. Sarah now lives in the rural Pacific Northwest, investigates paths to healing, and writes poems.
Sarah's poems have appeared in The Shallow Ends, Rise Up Review, Glass Poetry
and Crab Creek Review
, among others. Twitter