Benjamin S. Grossberg

Child Bride Dies of Internal Bleeding on her Wedding Night


“The girl identified only as Rawan, was married to a 40-year-old man…”


A program I saw once: African wild dogs—
a pack of them—setting on a young deer,
their small mouths at her, suddenly everywhere
hanging off by their teeth, ripping until rags
of her skin drape from their muzzles. She falls
on bent legs, and they mount her flank, snouts
at her face, scramble up her. She passes out—
only, no, the host says she doesn’t. Pulse stalls,
trunk cools, and she slips into a kind of shock—
that’s right: no thrashing. Her muscles release,
and her endorphins, and (it’s his word) peace
enters her dark-marble eyes as she falls back.
But what if he is wrong—how to fathom the sting
of her suffering, and more than suffering?

Benjamin S. Grossberg’s books include Space Traveler (University of Tampa, 2014) and Sweet Core Orchard (University of Tampa, 2009), winner of the Tampa Review Prize and a Lambda Literary Award.