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Artwork: And a Chest to Put them In by Michele Vento. Design © Long Exposure Magazine. 

Ronda Redmond contributes a powerful evocation of maternity and the body in this new poem.

For Cupboard Chest

After And a Chest to Put them In by Michele Vento

Inside me is an all night mirror, a merry-go-round
wondering which part of my body will kill me first.
Some genetic thread wormed up into one brother, choked off another, and
crushed my best sister’s chest right in.
I have endless hours to pass until morning.

My beauty is nothing compared to this life.
I would give it all away to write my own best end to this story.

So, I’ve installed hinges and latches at my shoulders and hips.
You can open me like a cupboard for good reason.
I don’t mind the inconvenience of washing through my organs.
If you find one with a hard black knot,
tie it off. Keep me intact, if not whole
because my children are not done with me yet.
Lock me up tight when you’re done
and trail a pattern of flowers over the scars that mark my opening and closing.

My lovely breasts knew better
than to trust their place in this life.
The best of them has gone already to my babies
and my husband will never say he misses them.

Sometimes I wake in the morning and imagine I feel
the deep strum that ran from them, could open me
like a waterfall breaking against rock and river.

But I will not spend long remembering.
The door is shut
and all my pretty ones are safe inside.

Ronda Redmond lives in a small Midwestern town with her husband and teenage sons. She is active in her local arts and resistance communities. Her work has appeared in The New Delta Review, The Evansville Review, Permafrost and others.


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