Dinner for the Dying

When the boy comes inside
with blood on his ripe hands
and a quiver of pointed explanations
on his back, I'm chopping yellow onions.

When he says it's a doe, that she lies
on the edge of the wood, and that he knows
she was pregnant, my skin tightens.
The scar on my belly, that battered, barbwire grin
that opened like a window for him, twitches
for the dying mother and the calf like a love note in her womb.

When he hangs his knife on his belt
and heads toward the wood, I boil water, crush garlic.
I remember when the doctor pulled him, screaming,
from my belly. I remember the howl in my womb
as he sewed me shut. I remember my first meal
as a mother. Nothing could satisfy.
I salt the vegetables. Crush the mint.

Jen Lambert is a founding editor of Spark Wheel Press and burntdistrict. She holds an MFA from the University of Nebraska, and her work has been published in a variety of anthologies and journals including most recently, The Los Angeles Review, Raleigh Review and Two Review. (

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761