A woman, I don’t know how she’s related to me but I heard
she was a waitress at a place called this is embarrassing
where relatives would go on Saturday nights
and this one night, later in life, something awful
happened in front of everyone. There’s no other
way to say it but prolapse. Her uterus detached.
Whenever I’m in a new relationship I ask
the guy if he’s ever heard of this as a test.
The only one who had said it happened to some
of their cows. Hotdogs down a hallway, he said.
Of the work she did over the years. Of the finishing
and pushing and her children and then the mess.
Of stuff hanging out down there. And after
she was dead was when we found out about this.
She related the story in a letter to her sister
and about the whole thing she made a joke.
Of her body. She said I slipped on a pickle
and my womb fell out! She was generous
with exclamation points because she worked
so hard at being unnoticed in real life that I guess
she figured in her writing she might as well be heard.
Soon we were talking
thundercloud plums, blood-
good maples. In a copse
off the main road where they
kept mulch, a birch.
I showed you my plans,
the A2 of my daughter’s atria,
asked if it was possible
to turn the hydrangeas.
That’s easy—bury rusty nails
or a steral saw
in the soil around her.
The roots will draw out
alkaline. It takes time
but the acidity will change her.
Lindsay Illich is the author of heteroglossia, a chapbook available from Anchor & Plume. Her first book, Rile & Heave, is the winner of Texas Review Press’s Breakout Prize in Poetry and was published February 2017.