Midwife Man

By on May 30, 2011 in Contest Winners

Floating woman superimposed over hot tub and sunset

Julia wants to die in the hot tub
but the fool doctor says no,
too dangerous.

It’s her time. Blood-bag sky,
full moon aching like a cervix.

I boil hot-tub water. Turn on the pulsating
jets, light a patchouli circle of candles.

I dress Julia in her black
silk pajamas, detach
the morphine pump from her stuttering pulse.

She is all skin and eaten-out bone,
weightless in my arms as a sac of flute-song.

I sit on the edge of the tub,
bearded legs opening like a woman’s,
and ease my Julia into water.

Her black pajamas blacken.

Julia cannot swallow
but she holds a wine glass,
the cold stem remembered
pleasure in her hand.

Her skull hairs wisp like cilia toward the jets.

I hold her
long after the last pulse comes.
Wine spills, a red cord
trailing from her goblet.

I turn off the jets. The water spikes
and ripples, spikes and ripples, spikes
and flat-lines.


This poem placed first in the 2009 Wild Violet Poetry Contest.

2009 Contest Winners

Main Contests Page


Ellen LaFleche has published poems in Alehouse, Alligator Juniper, New Millennium Writings, Juked and Naugatuck River Review, among many others. She has three Pushcart Prize nominations.