The Granny Woman’s Note

When serving birth
Summon the womb
Open every window
every door to the house

to the barn to the room
Let them come on through
those cold rains, rot-lonely flies
all the waspers of this world

Tell them now is the time

And when your job is other
when they’ve declared

a body a corpse
Stay up all night

no matter

the hour or ghost
When serving death
again serve birth
Open

every window
every door Draw close
to that chest once filled
with God’s air

And place your mortal ear
there, listen

for what this womb will
invite in you

Rebecca Gayle Howell is the author of Render/An Apocalypse, which was selected by Nick Flynn for the Cleveland State University First Book Prize and was a 2014 finalist for ForeWord Review’s Book of the Year. Among her awards are fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and the Carson McCullers Center, as well as a 2014 Pushcart Prize. Native to Kentucky, Howell is the Senior Editor at Oxford American.

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