Noah Blaustein



Chris said but I was thinking
about that poem I read in college
b/c it had “pissing” in the title
b/c I wanted to know how “good poets”
turn pissing off of the back of a boat
into something worth reading
& I remember being amazed
by how he turned his uric acid dribble
into a metaphor for a long sentence
& treatise on how language
was the one thing stolen from the Gods
that could keep changing & still be beautiful
but I was critical of the poem too
b/c the turning of piss into metaphor
seemed like an intellectual flinch
for writing about the body at all
when it seemed to me that any moment
could be made “poetic” on its own
w/o dragging god’s & theory into it


I’d just finished telling Chris
about Sara’s last call. She was
sleeping in the on-call room
when the nurse called
Code blue. C-section. Stat.
She’d been dreaming,
something to do with the story
her neighbor told her
about bumping into the man
she’d been married to
for most of her adult life
at a stop light & how she’d watched him
wave hello to her & wondered
who he was & what he wanted
as the light changed
& they started to drive off
& she waved “hello” back.
& if it weren’t for the kids,
now grown & gone,
she’d have no connection
to almost one third of her life.
That morning, on Sara’s way
to the hospital, she looked over
at the contractor’s name
on the pick up at the light
& at the driver waving at her
& it took a heartbeat, & then another
before she said, “oh.” The last
time she saw him she’d called
the cops & had to change the locks
& take his clothes out & take
a restraining order out. From
that dream. From that sleep.
To blue alarm lights. To sterile floors
infinitely reflecting the emergency
lights. Code blue. Code blue. 90 seconds
to get baby out of mom & mom’s heart
beating & stabilized, the patient’s
belly & pubis shaved & splashed
with betadine, everyone gowned
& masked & almost faceless. Splash
& go. Cut & go. Eyes meeting eyes
Sara & her assist reaching for their
scalpels silently, blade to skin
& then read from pelvis bone
to pelvis bone, pregnant-stretched,
bold faced, the almost nameless,
the almost faceless patient’s  tattoo:
Here or here? Sara asked using
the scalpel to question where
to break the sentence with a scar.
They sewed her up slower than usual,
wondering out loud if they should add
a “Tr” before the “eat” & tried not to
imagine what she’ll say to her new
daughter when she begins to read.


NOAH BLAUSTEIN has had poems in the San Francisco Chronicle, The Harvard Review, and The Cincinnati Review. After Party is due out from the University of New Mexico Press in 2019. He is currently an AIR fellow with the National Park Service, teaching poetry to homeless youth in the Santa Monica Mountains.


Read more by Noah Blaustein:

Poem in the San Francisco Chronicle
Poem at
Poem in Poetry Northwest