Uterus, You

Always the gracious hostess, stretched thin
to accommodate your growing guests—three
pregnancies a breeze. Until the physical
therapist asked if mine was still intact
I hadn’t thought of you in forty years.
How rude of me! But in my defense,
I never had a sense of exactly
where you were down there or how you even
looked outside of doctor’s office cross sectioned
drawings of the reproductive system
which seemed oddly lobsterish—fallopian
tubes, the claws spread out like puny arms
ending in egg sac fists. Who could cozy
up to that ? No Clifton’s mystical
estrogen kitchen for me. And after
each delivery were you like a spent
plastic bladder of wine, a few red veins
clinging like clipped ivy vines to brick?
Did you shrink like a violet and slink off
to the upstairs room, cool and mute as a tomb,
aloof from all the hullabaloo, the pitching
and wooing, blood rushing, thrusting and gushing
coming and coming and coming—dear god,
count the years! Oh, my dearest darling U—
I hope some of it was good for you too.

A Subtlety

after Kara Walker’s “A Subtlety or the Marvelous Sugar Baby
Sphinx
” exhibit at the Domino Sugar Factory

Not even a jumbo jet airline hanger
could contain the Sugar Baby Sphinx.
Eighty tons of granulated sugar crystals,
shimmering in the gloom she looked
as solid as the ancient, pure white marble
Greek statue of Aphrodite. So dangerous,
she should have been wrapped in caution
tape—just one grain in the blood and brain
created an insatiable, life long craving.

Men who beheld the colossal goddess
fell to their knees in the presence of such
lusciousness, specifically her vulva
blooming like a tulip in the cleft between
the luminous half moons of her booty.
Many wept that they would never press lips
to or tongue her flesh and had to make do
with the sour grape tart confectionaries
offered at the opening reception.

Inspite of all appearances she was
a mere ephemera. It’s no riddle
how in the summer heat vile and toxic
leaks she became a sticky lake slicking
the defunct Dominio Sugar Factory floor.

The only relic saved is an 8’x10’
room-sized fist, the thumb tip held between
the index and middle finger—a Figa
a sign of good luck or fuck you, depending.

Before I Walked

Dad underhanded pitched
me off the pier and like the witch

I came to be I rose like soap
and foaming flailed

my way back
into into his arms—

lesson learned
early on—if I pray

at all it’s to water
I whisper not this fisted

spit of sand and reeds
between the sea and estuary.

Spring

took to her bed
at the first forsythia

through strawberry
picking—cricket

splintered nights
paint flecked floor

Nancy Mitchell
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