Birthing Woman as Viscera-Sucker

text in italics from “The Viscera-Sucker and the Politics of Gender” by Herminia Meñez

In preparation for his arrival
I made my den:                             
bergamot-doused humidifier,
coconut water,
contraction timer. 

                                         By day, the viscera-sucker
                                         an exceptionally attractive woman
                                         with long hair fuller and richer
                                         from the hormones that infused my body

            the creature clung to sac,
            umbilical cord.

                                         By night, she discards her lower torso, hiding it
                                         under the sheets, in a closet, or among a patch
                                         of banana trees. Day eleven after due date:
                                         the hilot who evicted overstaying children
                                         speared needles and enerhiya into my shoulders,
                                         initiating his departure.
                                         Another hilot swept membranes, 

            commenced a stirring.



                        Triad of healers prepared massage
                        looped a malong to stretch my back
                        sang songs to dance the child down
                                         sprinkling holy water, burning incense

                                         were violent,
                                         bursting from the inside
                                         displaying blessed palms,

            doula did not arrive

                                         the crucifix, and praying
                                         are believed to paralyze a witch.

                        blood pooled out of me,
                        maxi-pad soaked in red. 
                                         To capture a viscera-sucker,
                        GO! I emitted.
                                         one should cast a priest’s cincture
                                         or belt around her body
                                         to make her

                        At the hospital, I arrived
                                                       a tortured, writhing beast
                                                       doctors and nurses in gowns and gloves

              A hand, my hand
signed papers shoved at it.
quivered off the narrow bed like leaves
blown by a supernatural wind.          

Birth plans

They wringed their hands and wheeled me into the fluorescent chamber.

                                         If someone rubs ashes, salt, vinegar, lemon juice,
                                         garlic, ginger, pepper, and other spices on her
                                         discarded part, reattachment is impossible
Sliced in two, I parted
for his removal  
                                         and the viscera-sucker dies fragmented.

Copyright © 2024 by Aimee Suzara. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 23, 2024, by the Academy of American Poets.