Postpartum Hemorrhage
Losing so much blood
            is like the moment before an old woman
closes the shiny red window
            shutters of her little apartment
      in Chamonix, glancing up at the melting snow
      where the bighorn sheep make their way
down steep rock faces, and she thinks for an instant
    of the angels that gather
                        around a dead mouse
 and then immediately returns to her chair
   where she works on a crossword puzzle, the word
    “coffers,” the clue,
            “let me see what's in the household _______
 and I'll get back to you
                        about making a donation”
(all in French, of course) while outside the apartment
    birds carry sticks to their nests, and right around
here is where my sister and I went hiking in our twenties
     and suddenly on the trail
                        between two mountain huts, I had
a panic attack, what, in another century
                        would have been called dread
    as if my body was preparing me
        for the mundane aches of what was to come:
        the Legos I would step on
                        and, in a rage, hop on my one good
            foot to turn off the bathwater
     where my son played with his plastic trains.
Trains, in my family,
                        have always meant doom.
                        the promise of something.
The sea, the intermediary
             between the old way of thinking
     and the new.  Sometimes, when I wake up,
a voice in my head
                        like some 1950s commercial
      for naval oranges says
                        “Come to California!”
which reminds me of how in college
                        my friend and I would smoke
    marijuana out of a hollow
            green apple and walk
around Venice Beach
                        searching for the perfect
    pair of sunglasses. And for hours
            we’d watch the bodybuilders who seemed
composed of the twisting
    musculature of the sun, our spirits pointed
towards the golden life—
                        weightless and ahead of us.