Cynthia Marie Hoffman – The Infants in the Basin


Cynthia Marie Hoffman
The Infants in the Basin

Another possibility is the whole thing
belongs to the realm of fantasy.
Jan Bondeson, MD, PhD

Not until she fully drained her brood could a sheet
be draped upon her, she was so immense with child.
Linens make hissing noises being unfolded, smacking

noises being shaken out. Water boils on the fire. Both
make a racket with their sputtering – water and fire.
The floor and its din

roused by the nuns’ slippers. Three-hundred
sixty-five bodies, none bigger than a mouse.
None could know their mother’s

blood embroidering the cloth. The floor
shushed by the nuns’ slippers. A heap of
naked mice with human faces. It is Good. A woman

can have an infinite number of children. It is Good
Friday of the year 1276. All the boys
are Jan the girls Elisabeth there is not more

time than that. Three or four go into our hands
at once we dip them into the copper
basin. There are no cries or trembling,

no waking. The water
clasps their bodies and slips off. Beneath the sheet
the belly of the Countess Margaret

collapses. What does it mean? In the name of the Father
and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. I have seen an ovary
excavated and a great many twinkling seeds inside.