The Barren Woman’s Dream
And Rachel said unto Jacob, Give me
children, or else I die.
When the doctor said, No, not ever,
she nodded as if she understood,
took to her bed, and would not get up.
Late that night she and her husband
lay together in the fallow field
and scattered their seed on the fertile ground.
All winter long she bided her time,
knitting bonnets and booties,
like other women did, but by the hundreds.
In spring the first heads emerged,
shooting up like carrots
with tufts of fuzz on the crowns.
All summer she labored in the field,
shooing away rabbits and crows,
watching her crop multiply.
By summer’s end, a field of babies
swayed like wheat in the Iowa breeze,
a bountiful harvest of babies.
They reached their arms out to her,
all perfect, all beautiful,
her hunger ripening inside her.
(from Eve’s Red Dress [Wind Publications, 2003])
Diane Lockward is the author of The Crafty Poet: A Portable Workshop and four poetry books, most recently The Uneaten Carrots of Atonement. Her previous books are Temptation by Water, What Feeds Us which received the 2006 Quentin R. Howard Poetry Prize, and Eve’s Red Dress. Her poems have been included in such journals as Harvard Review, Southern Poetry Review, and Prairie Schooner. Her work has also been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and The Writer’s Almanac.
Photo ©Richard Beban