On a Mother Dead in Childbirth
You who have not regarded the softness
Of rude weather, arrive. Make your bed.
You shall conceive by your spleen and flower.
Be advised: observe how, at ease, the bitch gives birth.
Where roads conjoin, divide yourself equally
And multiply little sorrows in a room.
(The vessel wonders at this salutation.
She has attained a husband, his command and flense.)
You must be willing to commit to a weekly schedule.
When midwives arrive with paper in reams,
Your son will be cauled, and the caul gathered.
But first receive your fists of soil and bury.
All times are subject to change as needed.
There will be no drowning of sailors at sea.