Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2017  Vol. 16 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Consort (Carriage & Miscarriage)
The first three wives of King Henry VIII suffered miscarriages and delivered
only female children, until at last a son was born, resulting in the death
of the mother.

Her name meant pure, virginal, black-eyed
daughter of the Moors. Held a summer-ripened
womb, wove small deaths into rosaries. Andalusian
hills of memory, shivelight through the black oaks
of Kimbolton: Mary, we are mirrored
halves of something never whole
. Claim
no other queen, honor thy mother, one true
king or god.

The brown doe spied
through the shifting branches, the garden,
the plum-trees, the phantom feet of those who danced
before. There was water boiling, wine untasted,
her nightgown, stained in a blood unvoiced. Her body
deflated, left with silver tacks, unworn
nightcaps, unripe fruit cut from
stem. One daughter, one ghost,
a lingering sun-ring on the river.

Half past the hour, the Queen rose
from bed, her moon-bright infant flung
into life. Her eyes darted wildly, as the warbling tulip
of her heart waxed & waned through the red-
curtained chamber. Her pulse echoed
violently, & the doctor elected to bleed her. The boy-
child wailed, rose-crown slivered
through holy wefts of hair, as his mother
forgot & remembered
her body.  

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