the head pushed down past the rib
then back again the head pushed down
past the rib then back again not enough
room to maneuver like too much laundry
in the wash trying to pull a soaked towel out
of a wet load of clothes from the very bottom
of the unbalanced barrel a pain in the belly
again until she pushes the other way a pain
in the belly raw like a scab picked too early
a stretching tight pulling pushing up against
until pop her feet lodge past the hip her head
lands in the sacrum the shock of being punched
in the gut like getting walloped with a baseball
her 38-week fetal body locked into position.
Katie Richards is an MFA candidate at George Mason University. She is the recipient of the 2016 Mark Craver Poetry Award and the 2020 Mary Roberts Rinehart Poetry Award. Her poetry has previously appeared or is forthcoming in the South Dakota Review, DIALOGIST, Valparaiso Poetry Review, SOFTBLOW, and The Inflectionist Review among other places.