Here’s someone else’s thing

Fifth Rib
for a twelve year old Yemeni girl who bled to death
after three days trying to give birth to a son

At eleven I was a handshake between two men,
sons of Adam, who were called after the prophet.

A father gave me away like a prey’s carrion
A husband took me between his fangs like war spoil.

I had only bled five moons.
I brought my doll with me to the wedding bed.

My mother never warned me
about a holy man’s chamber

never spoke of the wolf in his blue blood
or the rattling teeth of the other women

the ones my youth would erase
meat cured with the salt of the earth

pushed to the back of the hook
to make room for the new and tender flesh

I am my husband’s fifth rib
the one closest to the heart

the one he hates most for the way
it makes him weak and fallen

I tried to love his other ribs
Like the sisters they would never be

His other wives, pillars of virtue, sulfur, and salt
Makers of invisible daughters and holy war sons

a choir of humming bones branching
out and around me like a cage

I tried to learn my duty
But it never did take

I had too much sun in me and not enough son.
my body too much child to make a child.

He was born as big as a tooth
still and blue like his father’s blood

He was buried in a green box
I did not live long enough to see.

I shall be buried too, by early dawn
by men with crescent beards and quiet shovels

men who shake hands when they buy or bury brides
men who call themselves after the prophet

Men with too much much wolf in their blood

Gypsee Yo

(I also highly recommend Gypsee Yo’s slam poem, Autobiography.)

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