BirthingMiriam Bird Greenberg
Tip up an axe blade beneath the bed slats to stop the hemorrhaging, I’ll say. Take cloth scorched brown in a shovel over flame to tie the cut cord. Boil up black snake root tea to cure your hives. Take a mouse’s ear; it grows on rocks at the water’s edge. Red alder works around the heart, but some nights the moon turns dark as a stone under water—there’s nothing to do, though I’ll send the children all evening in search of pepper grass if there’s a marsh nearby. Pray if your god pays you mind, I’ll tell the woman. Nothing can change those nights, down the mountain’s dark path—just a twist of tobacco left in my pockets. Small black bag and silver scissors, taken oath to tell no one: a thing like that would skip to tenth generations. Bound to come from some mineral and settle on vegetables with the dew. At home, I’ll wash out my bag, my mortar and pestle and tools, then leave them a day in the sun to get clean.
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