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Six days she lay inside the sepulcher

before I came to care for the newborn, the last


daughter in the direct line of Eden.  Adam 

had burned the forest down to show the Lord his anguish


and fires rose all the way to the lost continent

of Heaven.  I latched the baby and she fell


into a comfort as smoke filled up the skies.  

I swept the ashes out of the house for I knew the Lord


was grieving.  But it was only I at the funeral who understood

the way a husband suffers, like now when I see him reach


for the remnant of his rib, I know what his fingers find

missing there is so much more than bone. 


A s h   B o w e n

The Handmaid Speaks of Eve, Dead from Childbirth




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Issue 78

Variations on Absence

edited by Laura M. Kaminski






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