Africa the skull, homo afarensis, her dark foot laid
across the soft mud, clean as a star and now such confusion

of countries, who spoke English? She had no names
for the cells in her pancreas, each becoming a little city?

The adrenal glands perched on top of her kidneys
seemed the Mediterranean. Dangerous to see the world this way,

but she was not the one who named the Finger Lakes
and hadn’t Seneca believed the earth was riding the back

of a giant turtle, seas filling the indentations, and didn’t
barnacles cover whales like branching roads, maps of great bodies.

Once she had been a cell, now she was the world, all the parts
contending, her poor hands aching like a stomach

in Bangladesh, and someone was trying to make her religious,
a zealot wrapping a righteous scarf around her head, why

do men so hate women? she asked, why do men want them
to know so little? She could feel the latitude between her rib

and pelvis, she was walking there now balancing herself
with a femur, down to the primordial sea

full of bacterial bloom, red, she thought, as others see it,
no, she said, it’s green, I see green.

Lois Marie Harrod’s 17th poetry collection Woman recently appeared from Blue Lyra. She is well-published in literary journals and online ezines from American Poetry Review to Zone 3. Visit her online work at