Culture 20 March 2014 "Home Birth": a new poem by Carolyn Jess-Cooke Print HTML They said she was stuck as though she was a nine-pound human fork pronged in the dishwasher, an umbrella that wouldn’t fold to size. I pushed until I thought I’d turn inside out and yet she sat in my cervix for hours, as the contractions collapsed on me like skyscrapers, as they talked about the knife. Second time round, the sour sensation of complete idiocy for willing this pain again, going through it, risking so much for someone who remained at the fringes of knowing, ghosted by awful wisdom that birth isn’t the end of it, nor the worst – episiotomy; infections; afterpains; breastfeeding. But my body remembered, it took the first shunt of his head, yawned, then toboganned him out in a gush of brine, red as a crab. I remember his arms like socks full of eggs, muscular, fists bunched, as though he’d been prepared to fight. Carolyn Jess-Cooke is a poet and novelist. Her second collection of verse, Boom!, will be published by Seren Books next month. › Will Self: A field trip to Heathrow via Harmondsworth Great Barn 12 issues for £12 Subscribe This article first appeared in the 12 March 2014 issue of the New Statesman, 4 years of austerity More Related articles Mathias Énard is the most brazen French writer since Houellebecq Sex and the city: the novel that listens in on New York Parenting remains primarily women’s work. Is that why it’s passed over in literature?