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Midwife’s Bargain by Christina Hennemann

Midwife’s Bargain

A gasp, a scream,

the night spliced 

for the birthing 

of a ruby morning.

I pull in sync 

with your pushing,

grip against 

slime and blood.

You’ve freed yourself 

by a hair’s breadth,

from rivers crusting

red, brown, black. 

I hold you against it,

vernix-clad flesh

on sweaty pallor,

wriggling to glide 

from my hands,

blood thickens

between my fingers

as the knell rings  

three times— twice,

and the crows 

silver their screech

in the yew’s crown.

Christina Hennemann is based on the West Coast of Ireland. She’s the author of the poetry chapbooks “Illuminations at Nightfall” (Sunday Mornings at the River, 2022) and “Witch/Womb” (BookHub Publishing, forthcoming 2024). She’s a recipient of an Irish Arts Council’s Agility Award and was long- and shortlisted in writing competitions. Her work appears in Poetry Ireland, Poetry Wales, The Belfast Review, The Selkie, Anthropocene, The Moth, York Literary Review, Moria, and elsewhere.


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