Newby, Rhonda, picture of tatoo for poem SophiaBy Rhonda Newby-Torres

This piece was developed during the third Bartimaeus Institute Online (BIO) Study Cohort 2017-2018.  These pieces will eventually be published in a Women’s Breviary collection.  For more information regarding the BIO Study Cohort go here.

In the beginning

there was only darkness

Her thundering groans travel effortlessly through the night

as she rolls and bends through the pain

She wants to squat

but her knees will not unlock

Instead she tries to climb out of the pain

up and over it

She needs to escape

Her spirit jumps

back and forth

inside and outside her body

Momentarily watching from above

and then trying to hide somewhere in her bones


Suddenly something deep inside

drops her to her knees

thighs spread immensely

agony shoots through her being

hair and sweat cling to her neck as she wails into the night

Water breaks

Waves crash

She tastes the salty mist on her lips

Newly formed ocean swells and retreats

With her heavy pulse





Ages come and go

twirl in the air

anxious for the coming

Stars peek curiously from behind grandmother sun

whispering and giggling


She feels the fire

and knows it is time

She summons the angels for strength

steeling herself

And she pushes

from her back she pushes

from her bones she pushes

from somewhere far away she pushes

Bones crack

Loins rip

Sky is torn

She bears down

teeth clenched


With tears and sweat              she is born

With blood flowing                  she is born

With terror and haze              she is born


Pine     Must    Damp forest floor    fill the air

Flora and Fauna wake foggy eyed and wobbly







Exhausted and drunk in love

Picks up her child and inhales her scent


It is good    she mutters

And there was light.





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