Authored by Corky Robert
6" x 9" (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
BISAC: Fiction / Cultural Heritage
It’s on the wild Irish dawn of a raw March day, 1845, her caul split, her water spilt, the 15-year-old motherless lass begins her labor. And it’s night follows day in skirling cries to God and His holy angels, and the midwife’s tireless urges of, “Poosh doon, lass!” while the terrified girl clenches the woman’s wrist in a grip could choke a Connemara stallion. As a last chance, with hands that’s last shoveled dung from a pigsty, the midwife fetches the magical twig and brushes it around the birth canal. And it’s in renewed tearing and tugging she finds success, guiding the babby’s head to crowning, then the shoulders to turning, and the belly sliding out, trailing a twisting cord.
“ ‘Tis a girl!” midwife shouts, holding the babby arse-up, and it toning like a piper at a clan reunion. The exhausted mother, soaked in blood and sweat, and her fierce labor forgotten, fondles the cuddlesome pinkness, her love-murmurs curling warm about it, the like of a smoky flame blown to the wick.
The midwife takes up a white thread of horsetail hair. “Plucked,” she swears, “from a yearling filly, under the luck of a spring-tide moon.” She dips it in whisky, and ties the cord in Saint Brendan’s knot. “ ’Tis the drouth I’m suffering for the work I done,” she says, slyly swigging the whisky, grinning down upon the two nestling and cooing. And it’s then she lets a horrific gasp out of her.
“God save us all! It’s the curse of the Evil One!” she shrieks, beating her breasts.