Post Partum


For Leo

See, along the path those clustered sword-like leaves?
Those are the irises, my son; in spring they send up
purple plumes like smoke or thunderheads sharp-split
by blades of yellow lightning. In spring the wet ground gashes
itself open round the stalks—if it could bleed,
it would, there where new growth marks the place of parting.

But look, out to the north, the clouds are finally parting
(though it’s too far for your young eyes to see). The leaves
are dripping in the garden, and the colors bleed
through the raindrops on the glass. I’ll put up
the window so you can see what you can see: gashes
of white fenceposts, and beyond, the dark horizon, split

around those glowing posts. All things now are split
like that for me, for I have been the Red Sea parting
and I have been a pale pathway through it. The gashes
in the rock at Meribah are me, for I leave
scars upon myself, and the water drawn up
from the rock is also me. The roots of bleed

are in the lost word bhel: to bloom, blossom, bleed
out life in color and flame. The whole sense is split
between death and life. Even our words bind those two up
together… Oh at last: you’ve gone to sleep, parting
your lips, still sucking. Each moment of your waking leaves
you bewildered by this world that is not you, by the gashes

widening between you and what you know, gashes
opened first by God in the Creation which still bleed,
plumy, spreading. The Welsh for “bloom” is blawd. Leaves
must peel outward from the tree. A seed must split.
So nature manifests the mystery of parting
from the beginning: and God said, and so divided up

everything. Creation changes everything: up
from one thing rises endless others. Being gashes
itself open on itself; the great parting
does not end, and even God Himself has bled
for it. Like you and me, the world’s forever split
apart by being what it is, my son. Always, the leaves

pile up around the trees. Spotted tree trunks bleed
sap in spring. To live is to split open. Without gashes
there are no leaves. All places mark our place of parting.

J.C. Scharl is a writer from Colorado. She has an MFA from Seattle Pacific University. Her poetry has been published by Euphony Journal, The Scores, The Curator, and The Society of Classical Poetry. See more of her work at