Linea nigra

By | 2 February 2001

An indigo line from extruded navel to pubis,
a narrow neat bruise or a compass line tattoo.
Beneath it, abdominal muscles asunder, uncleaved
like cheeks of a gravid peach. Above it, livid
straie of a sun-dried gourd-skin, verandahed
by mooning breasts bearing tracery of river deltas.
Stigmata of female crucifixion, sacrificing time
and spontaneity under the aegis of oestrogen,
women wear them variously — proud, afraid,
dumb-struck. In hospital catacombs we absorb
a kabala coded in chromosomes, a whispered initiation.
We dismiss it as so much clishmaclaver
until we step in the river, slipping
on slime, losing our footing, centre of gravity
gone. There is danger in the river of blood,
the moment from placenta to brain,
the tunnel of light. We fear the karma
of lost brothers or sisters. We are terrified
by our heresy. We are ecstatic apostles.
We have faith in the creed
of love and other women.

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