“The Tale of Postpartum” by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland

Raquel Vasquez Gilliland


The doctor is ancient
and I don’t think
she can hear me
when I say, my columna
vertebral is on
the outside now.

She asks, do you like
caring for the baby?

I nod. Yes. I love
caring for the baby.

And then I whisper.

But how long
can a woman live
with her spine
on the outside.
It hurts so bad,
I can’t even cry.

Good news, the doctor
tells me, staring at
her notes. You don’t
have depression.

from Tales from the House of Vasquez
Rattle Chapbook Prize Winner


Raquel Vasquez Gilliland: “Nearly two years after having a nervous breakdown after the birth of my son, I started to examine this experience with poetry. Mental illness runs on my mother’s side of the family—with the Vasquez women, specifically—and in searching for the reasons why, I found stories. Some of these are from the lips of my grandmother and mother, some are ones I unearthed inexplicably, from the fertile dirt where poems grow.” (web)

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