Mother braved the ward with a bag of blue plums
while you ran to ground like a hunted fox.
Blood pulsed in dark flanks over far fields,
a mess of costive roots, the sky sweating salty rain.
I could eat no plum, nor any stone fruit.
Mother ballyhooed the hunt,
wiping the wetness from her chin.
I marveled at the pain’s rigor,
the chase after a wild, terrified thing
and yielded up a tender pit, a torn cry, fugacious love.
For years I’d feel the afterbirth
squeezed from my flesh like warm plum juice.