SWWIM publishes, celebrates, & promotes women, women-identifying & Femme-presenting writers through a Miami-based reading series & the online poetry journal SWWIM Every Day.

Leather Uterus by Clara Bush Vadala

Sculpted for the stocks

Stripped of a heifer’s back

Tanned and dyed before

It cools the heat from

Her old bones, sterilized,


Then, working hands

Stitch belts to its sides

To hang from metal bars

In the teaching room, stitch

Flaps for placing fetuses


Into natural positions

In the hardened birth

Canal, thick leather, that

Doesn’t stretch like living

Meat, murmurs and shakes


With our own jostled biceps,

Our own tingling shoulders,

Pulling a calf just through

The cervix, stitched 360°,

Feet first, two loops around


The carpi, then shoulders,

Ribs, turn 90° to keep hips

From locking beneath

Hips, cradle the whole

Hundred pounds before


The floor, this life is not

As heavy as you’d think.

Clara Bush Vadala is a Texas veterinarian. She gained her BA in Environment and the Humanities at Texas Tech University and her DVM from Texas A&M University. Her poems have appeared in SLAB: Sound and Literary Art Book and Unsplendid, and have been featured at the Houston Poetry Festival. Her book, Prairie Smoke: Poems from the Grasslands, is available from Finishing Line Press. 

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