Labour and Other Poems by Astrid Lorange, Sydney: Cordite Books, 2020

The Labour never finishes — it transforms, orients itself towards
new objects. In this sense, it also never quite begins, for there was
always an earlier labour that preceded: before the labour of birth,
the considerable labour of pregnancy, and before that the labour of
menstruation; the often unbearable labours of sexuality and gender;
the labour of a body in wellness and the terrific effort of sickness; the
labour that was lost, wasted, stolen and squandered as a condition
of my body being here at all. To say that birth begins with labour and
that labour begins — with a contraction, or the sudden breaking of waters,
or the quiet dislodgement of a mucous plug — is to mark one form of
labour from its own dizzying history:

And this demarcation is useful as a narrative strategy, since it allows
there to be birth stories and birth poems — but it also troubles the temporality
of birth, since there was never a labour contained to the act of childbirth
nor a birth that did not index the sublime and violent history of reproduction, the
almost unbelievable processes through which a body becomes, if not from
nowhere, then also not quite from anywhere in particular.

— Extract from ‘Labour’ in Labour and Other Poems, Sydney: Cordite Books, 2020, p.43

Labour and Other Poems is available to buy from Cordite Books here.