The Women

She presses a cold damp cloth to the woman’s head she walks with her in circles around the room she burns sage she sings songs of healing and life and birth and the future she sings songs to invoke the past, past wisdom, past strong hands pulling bloody bundles of life from the warm she hands the woman glasses of water and honey and rubs her back and they count the number of women that came before count the number of breaths between the pain count the stars as they appear in the falling dusk count the number of pushes between the pain count the cries of the child among the most beautiful sounds they have ever heard.

The woman falls.

The woman lives.

The men come with their locks and keys and fear and flame.

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