"Afterbirth" by David Moody

David Moody

David Antonio Moody is a writing instructor in downtown Phoenix and production editor for The Cortland Review. Recipient of a 2014 AWP Intro Journals Award, his recent poetry appears in Ghost Ocean, Carolina Quarterly, Breakwater Review, and Columbia Review. He completed his doctorate at Florida State University where he performed in the Jack Haskin’s Flying High Circus.

After Birth

Mom in the kitchen with cooking twine wads
teaches me a lesson on binding meat,
squeezes blood from the chuck’s soak pad,

and compares it to milking a placental cord.

“An infant that’s anemic needs an infusion.
That blood in the cord is like a deep inhale."
When she does this--breaks into nurse talk--

I breathe slowly and attempt to take it in.

This woman who once crushed my flip phone
with her walker, who now passes gristle
to the family tabby, taps a knife against the fat

then traces over veins, noting what to keep.

“Go slow against the grain” is all she offers.
Not one hint on butcher’s string. No gift
book bought for its patterns on steak skirts,

just her points about marbling, curry and hems,

oiling the turkey talons, how my fingers could
be rope holding back innards, “But don’t
fight them. Let them fall out. Don’t.”