Hysterika is uterus                                                           by Jess Macy

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 
internal rivers.

The womb, a female viscus,
a little beast, 
moves herself
hither and thither 
along the

She brushes 
past the liver, 
runs her fingertips
over the spleen, 
rubs her haunches
across thorax cartilage, tickles
the diaphragm. 

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

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, 

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, 
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 

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 SpindleThe MacGuffin(parenthetical)The Little Balkans ReviewRoom MagazineGrass LimbThe Knicknackery, The Tampa Review (forthcoming), and The Maine Review. Martin is poetry editor for The Midwest Quarterly.