The Night After the Procedure by Kara Knickerbocker

            I wake up, slick in the red darkness
not knowing my body as well anymore
but knowing enough something isn’t right,
worry that I’ve already baptized the bed
& try to right myself, make it slowly
to the bathroom, fumbling for light,
text you I can’t stop bleeding
& change through pad after pad
& finally give up, sit on the toilet‘s edge
as clotted globes, these other worlds
pour out of the open door of me
that I want to run out of but I can’t
even walk, my god I can’t do anything
but empty & stare in shock at the flood,
ask Google if I should go to the hospital
or if that’s money I don’t need to hemorrhage
& start to wonder if this is how I die
a woman drowned in herself, alone—
but at last the river runs dry just as the sky
begins to burn morning across the horizon
& it’s a strange thing to say, once spotless,
but I know so much is inside of us that
we never see & I watch the bright crimson
tint the water in the porcelain bowl, & I study
the scarlet stains seeping into my underwear
that I will later let soak & scrub, but for a moment,
I wear the rubies of my body like the precious thing it is,
so in awe of the bright red of a woman, who can love
& bleed from the most delicate part of her—
& think yes, this is fire that’s born from my very being


Kara Knickerbocker is the author of the chapbooks The Shedding Before the Swell (dancing girl press, 2018) and Next to Everything That is Breakable (Finishing Line Press, 2017). Her poetry and essays have appeared in or are forthcoming from: Poet Lore, Hobart, Levee Magazine, and more. She currently lives in Pennsylvania and writes with the Madwomen in the Attic at Carlow University. Find her online:

One thought on “The Night After the Procedure by Kara Knickerbocker

  1. Pingback: Writing Write-Up | from this side of the sun

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