When I was nine months full
with your baby sleeping
sound in the shelter
of my womb I was filled
with a lifetime of yearning
seeds attached to tendrils
of scarcity reaching for some
black soil to bloom rich into
your interior’s embrace.
My hair grew in wild
and long splendored abundance,
thick ropes of milk chocolate brown
swinging like luxurious green foliage
in a tropical rain forest.
I could not see my feet swollen and fat
when I looked straight down over
my stomach sitting high
as a green striped watermelon
thumping ripe on the stem of my legs,
steadfast pillars of contentment.
I had to twist and turn
my body sideways at geometric angles
just to get up out
of chairs and reclining positions.
Strangers touched me and my stomach
without permission entitled hands
patting intrusive invasion
in raucous delight to experience
a new beginning fluttering
life on exquisite dust
of butterfly wings in flight.
I needed help tying shoes
and picking up dying questions
falling before my eyes
the elasticity of resilient hope,
crumbling before your withdrawal
to help me keep my balance
and reach high on the shelf
for love things hidden
well out of sight.
Your muddy brown eyes flowed
through me a polluted river
full of dirt and debris
at the audacity of my body’s treason
exploding outwards into huge
roundness covered with my heart
standing mute and defenseless
before the criminal charges
and frequent accusations you
hurled at my familial resemblance
to a big fat whale dumped
undeservedly on the shores
of your put-upon life and how
I walked like an oversized duck
moving without feminine grace
through your victimized life.
I craved the taste of golden brown
caramel rich with the meaty taste of nuts,
pizza with lots of crunchy brown bread,
sweet and juicy peaches soft with warm fuzz
and my favorite ice cream butter pecan
that froze my savoring tongue alive.
But, I wanted more the taste of tenderness
from your regard which you extended
and withdrew according to the varied
capriciousness of your whims.
My timid fingers were colorless from holding
too tight to the bloodless dream of you
caressing my stomach with a healing
touch from placing the side of your face
in suspended breath and wonder,
juxtaposed next to the rhythmic pattern
of our son’s heart dancing a miracle
dancing a miracle inside of me.
One day you came to me,
your face the picture of longsuffering
with a burnt offering you extended
to me in loose munificence,
your hands martyred full with a jar
filled with long-columned smoothness
and bleached green pickles,
standing upright like soldiers
swaying from side to side
in formaldehyde translucence.
You twisted the lid off in one motion fluid,
and a stifled whoosh echoed between us
in the blanket of deafening silence,
dispassionate liquid undulated sadly
around my nerveless fingers stepping
reluctantly into the unknown.
I had never liked pickles.
I had told you so on countless occasions.
But for you, with delicate crunch
and a stomach steeled not to revolt,
I bite into the pale green underbelly
of reptilian cold and swamp-like taste
swallowing an old and familiar ecstasy
I no longer feel.