She could not know
That the flood of after-birth and early-birth and missed-birth
Does not only flow bright and clean
But also falls as offal.
That a blood clot is not a tight cluster of stars
But the wet shine of kidney, of spleen, of maws.
She squatted, her calves flecked with liver
And she wondered how to clean the spots off the floor
Of the toilet.
She could not see what the sonographer saw
When she was searching for your soul seed
On a screen she was not to see, and found only scree
And lumps of congealed sun,
Black as sackcloth made of hair.
A tattered inkhorn with upturned belly
And a seed burnished to lead: a poisoned anchor
Too heavy to float with the flock
of the clock.
She did not know that the blood and iodine on her thighs
Would harden to a slab of brittle rhubarb candy.
She cracked it carefully with a silver toffee hammer
And when the silence of her friends
Began to wrap her face
She popped a piece in and sucked.
Rachel Bower is a poet, critic and mother of two small (fierce) children. She is the founder of Verse Matters: an inclusive feminist arts event in Sheffield which provides a supportive space in which talented people can share their stories, poetry and music. Rachel performs her poetry across the region and has just begun a Residency at Bank Street Arts, Sheffield. The Residency will enable her to develop her poetry in collaboration with other artists towards a performance and installation piece. Rachel is also a Cheney Research Fellow at the Leeds Humanities Research Institute, where she is researching the relationship between poets in Leeds and Nigeria between 1950 and the present.
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