in Ancient Greek Hippocrates calls her a sentient beast. She wanders her host, blocks passages, obstructs breathing, induces disease. Others say she floats, a cork down internal rivers. The womb, a female viscus, a little beast, moves herself hither and thither along the woman-flanks. She brushes past the liver, runs her fingertips over the spleen, rubs her haunches across thorax cartilage, tickles the diaphragm. She’s erratic. She delights in pitcher sage, runs the skin of snakes down her cheek, basks in the translucent blue of the moon. But she is cold, cold, so very cold. To warm her up, they say, she needs doctor-fingers, or your penis, midwife-hands, or the scoop, the grip, or the spatula some kitchen utensil, repurposed. They call it “The Widow’s Disease” this animal within an animal, because her semen is venomous unreleased. They call it “The Suffocation of the Mother,” because maybe she’ll be driven into witchery, into cannibalizing her own children, rotating them on spits over the coals of her hearth, driven into slurping her men, sizzling, down her throat. She’ll smack her lips, suck her fingers clean, and then she will use her own hands to warm her body back up again.
Jess Macy was born and raised in the suburbs of Kansas City and received her BA and MA at Pittsburg State University. Following a particularly nomadic decade, she has finally settled down (for now) in Chicago to pursue her MFA at DePaul University.
Guest Editor Lori Martin is an associate professor of English at Pittsburg State University. She’s had both poetry and fiction published in magazines like Prick of the Spindle, The MacGuffin, (parenthetical), The Little Balkans Review, Room Magazine, Grass Limb, The Knicknackery, The Tampa Review (forthcoming), and The Maine Review. Martin is poetry editor for The Midwest Quarterly.