DIALOGUE WITH THE HUSBAND STITCH

Jihyun Yun

“Dr. —. ——- was called upon to explain the ‘Husband Stitch,’ which he did as follows: He said that when he was stitching up a ruptured perineum, of a married lady, the husband…peeped over his shoulders and said, ‘Dr., can’t you take another stitch?’ and he did, and called it the ‘Husband Stitch”

– From “Transactions of the Texas State Medical Association, Volume 17”

so my lord laid me down on her meat—
and named me her husband’s—
said     you will improve the woman’s—
wellbeing           I willed it so—
pearled thread through her perineum        tenderly I—
tucked into that rain—
ravaged terrain pulled taut these walls—
for her own sake                which is synonymous—
with her husband’s girlish aperture I loved—
to breathless   you will improve—
will increase   vulvular and sweet—
I was the opposite—
                       
                      of violence—
               
               for weeks, we lived in love—
         
         no blood leaving unbidden           I grew—

human(e)ly fond of her body which I wore as my own—

then her husband entered the sutured gate—
               
              aurora borealis broken                    leaking light—
                                    
                                    her rupture—
          
          is not my fault—
                           
                           O tell me             oh, tell—

me how to keep                              sun from spilling—

      from all my man-made seams—

                           The woman’s wellbeing—

born to be split           plum skinned—

                    useless—

                           maker              let me retell the story—

                 as it should have been       a girl comes to your office—

        and leaves as split as she’s come              she isn’t—

                      punished for the gasping birth in her arms—

                             seeks permission from no-one for her mother wound—

                      what her womb dares to do—

unwed me from this                 stitch and tremor—

                                            O tight O tight       O terror—

                torn there where my thread unthatched—

        will improve the woman’s wellbeing—

                                      will improve the woman’s—

        wellbeing—                                    will improve the woman—

                               say honor, say horror—


                                               I do     I do     I do     I do—

from Issue 30.2


JIHYUN YUN is a Korean-American poet from California. A Fulbright Junior Research Fellow, she received her BA in Psychology from UC Davis and her MFA from New York University. A four-time Pushcart Prize and 2018 Blue Mesa Review contest winner, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Narrative Magazine, Adroit, Bat City Review, Poetry Northwest and elsewhere. She currently resides in Ann Arbor, Michigan where she is completing her first full-length collection Some are Always Hungry.

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