Landscape with Clinic and Oracle
Maybe you’re not the featherweight champ
of all the cutthroat combat sports
(fifteen and pregnant
but you’d convert your ring corner
into a slaughterhouse
before you’d inquire after human kindness.
In the humdrum flare outside the clinic
you wait for a ride, feel the spill at the tipping point
trickle down your inner thigh
as you bask in the post-industrial particulate
on your skin, ash
into a jasmine pot’s bituminous anchorage
so tacky it glows in a habitat that spent your body
long before it finished growing.
Lynn! they lied to you
don’t you know?
Your womb will be the first thing to heal.
What you smell is pleasure, not the rot of the thing
amid the waste.
You will have babies.
You will write poems about flowers that turn on in darkness.
Copyright © 2016 by Lynn Melnick. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 22, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.
About this Poem
“I’ve written this scene once before, in prose, but telling it in poetry felt at once more private and more expansive. This poem is for my daughters (to read when they are a bit older).”
Lynn Melnick is the author of Landscape with Sex and Violence (YesYes Books, 2017) and If I Should Say I Have Hope (YesYes Books, 2012).
Date Published: 2016-09-22
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/landscape-clinic-and-oracle