featured poem: In Response to the Blood by Elizabeth Wurz

Elizabeth Wurz | May 9th, 2011 | featured poem, poetry | No Comments

When I was a child, I tended to the garden
for what seemed like months.
From the farm, across the cattle guard, I walked
down Highway 60 past the Church of Christ.

Its well out back was covered
with a square board small enough
for me to slide away from the opening.
I hadn’t bought the seeds yet. I dropped
pieces of gravel instead
to test the water’s depth.

Ripples extended from where they entered—
to the red mud and tree roots around the edge.

My body changed. In response to the blood,
I conjured a terror of uterine tissue forming a web—
binding my wrists, ankles and waist—
tightening until I could not move.

I could not visualize myself
in the role of the woman I internalized.
The rituals I created tranquillize me.


It would have been a felony
for me to buy and thaw a vial of semen,
inject it close to my own cervix.

At the fertility clinic, the ultrasound showed
three Clomid-ripened ovum.
The doctor injected
thirteen million thawed and washed sperm
close to my tubes.


I have the ultrasound picture
of Olivia at eight weeks after conception.
She is shaped like a seahorse.

At sixteen weeks, she looks
more human. She is
as long as my little finger.
In the 4-D photo, there are her
eyebrows, eyelashes,
hands, lips—
and the cord.

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