woman_at_window

At 40, I Crawled Between My Mother’s Legs as She Lay on the Couch & Wept the Evening Brett Kavanaugh was Confirmed

in Identity/MeToo by
“Time does not change us. It just unfolds us.” —Max Frisch

I buried my face into her thigh, my sobbing
lost in the television, as though last night’s stars found me
most lovely in my thoughts of a deadly future,

my solace lucid, running,
my flesh foolish or dry as wilted flower, lush even in darkness—
my flesh rainmaker, embracing other women

I see, hear, stand beside—
gathered beneath my rain, restlessness,
full of secrets & deep terrors,
fathomless ponds of loneliness,
our ovums whispering.

Our lips move as we stroke our abdomens,
massage our wombs, our generations howling
against the birth of a man’s era,
ovums uttering a quiet sigh,
singing dark lullabies.

My mother sang a lullaby to me,
running the tips of her fingers through my hair,
lifting gray roots & letting them fall,
the way I combed her hair when I was anxious
& she was 40; our history ineffable,
sweetness hiding blowtorches, tweezers, bold conversations.

That I was born inside my grandmother’s womb—
a mere cell tucked inside my mother’s ovary,
a pinprick of life in darkness, floating inside her body’s heat,
protected by the wall of two wombs.

That my voice remained voiceless in this moment,
a testament of language & love.
That I wanted to fly
as pigeon, swallow the burning sun
into my empty womb
& deliver the world a message of a new dawn
still hiding inside my cloak of trauma,
afraid to disrobe, even quietly—
the generation wall again within me,
my daughter born too, as I was, two wombs woven,
knit, embroidered, each intricate stretch an empire,
a woman’s right felt, not defined & if debated, lost—
sacred mysteries of already having witnessed my trauma,
fading away on this gray evening
holding a red glow against black clouds.

Tonight, an awakening: flowing back in time,
listening to millions of ovaries swirl inside millions of wombs,
ovum sunken pebbles, fairy tales, or what-ifs,
narrating every nerve of female bodies
splitting into glimpses of ourselves, flickers, flashes of torment.

How to breathe, survive when we’re delivered by ghosts of men
to our granddaughters with wooden combs, heirlooms?
Let us wear dawn-flower crowns
& enter their sleep, take the place of hair fallen from roots.

Day after tomorrow pray they remember
our words, our faces skin with feet folds in front
of an eye-tall wall touching the sky,
pinpricks of light remaining alone on a long dark, endless night.

The plowed & fallow field lays barren.
What time & tide may bring to pass is nothing
of our reckoning. In our black dreams, we’ll grow,
water black trees, pick black fruits, write black poems of just scales
to measure, determine truth as to the value of life
while remembering your own.

 


Ariana D. Den Bleyker is a Pittsburgh native currently residing in New York’s Hudson Valley where she is a wife and mother of two. She is the author of three collections, sixteen chapbooks, a novelette, an experimental memoir, and two crime novellas.