By Bianca Lynne Spriggs
We are all ventricle, spine, lung, larynx, and gut.
Clavicle and nape, what lies forked in an open palm;
we are follicle and temple. We are ankle, arch,
sole. Pore and rib, pelvis and root
and tongue. We are wishbone and gland and molar
and lobe. We are hippocampus and exposed nerve
and cornea. Areola, pigment, melanin, and nails.
Varicose. Cellulite. Divining rod. Sinew and tissue,
saliva and silt. We are blood and salt, clay and aquifer.
We are breath and flame and stratosphere. Palimpsest
and bibelot and cloisonné fine lines. Marigold, hydrangea,
and dimple. Nightlight, satellite, and stubble. We are
pinnacle, plummet, dark circles, and dark matter.
A constellation of freckles and specters and miracles
and lashes. Both bent and erect, we are all give
and give back. We are volta and girder. Make an incision
in our nectary and Painted Ladies sail forth, riding the back
of a warm wind, plumed with love and things like love.
Crack us down to the marrow, and you may find us full
of cicada husks and sand dollars and salted maple taffy
weary of welding together our daydreams. All sweet tea,
razor blades, carbon, and patchwork quilts of Good God!
and Lord have mercy! Our hands remember how to turn
the earth before we do. Our intestinal fortitude? Cumulonimbus
streaked with saffron light. Our foundation? Not in our limbs
or hips; this comes first as an amen, a hallelujah, a suckling,
swaddled psalm sung at the cosmos’s breast. You want to
know what women are made of? Open wide and find out.
Source: Poetry (April 2018)
Bianca Lynne Spriggs is the author of Call Her by Her Name (Northwestern University Press, 2016) and The Galaxy Is a Dance Floor (Argos Books, 2016).
More Poems about Living
Vagrants and Loiterers
You got that clean waistcoat,
the bright white of a well-tailored
shirt, you got those loose-as-sacks
slacks and some spit-polished shoes,
and you know, whether you are looking
like money, or about to take a stroll,
to tilt that hat like you own
the world; yeah, smoke...
Back Up Quick They’re Hippies
That was the year we drove
into the commune in Cornwall.
“Jesus Jim,” mam said,
“back up quick they’re hippies.”
Through the car window,
tents, row after row, flaps open,
long-haired men and women
curled around each other like babies
and the babies themselves
wandered naked across the grass.
More Poems about Nature
Of Tribulation, these are They,
Denoted by the White.
— Emily Dickinson
in the split geode
a Santa’s grotto
every surface —
like sea urchins’ —
in the doorways
sleepers from the womb
to make of anything succulent
When I was “in despair” (the dark days
when I actually used such terms)
I noticed the behavior of animals —
sleep when tired, eat when hungry
That made a lot of sense to me
and yet I felt different