Monday, September 17, 2007

Monday Poetry Train #17

Maternity-x by Livan Castro
art print for sale at

The Woman Who Swallowed a Baby

Her belly parts the air ahead,
A balloon of hope before,
The blunt prow of a schooner,
Parting the waters of desire--
Her right of passage, proof of
Prowess, rank, fertility.

Within, swaddled in dreams,
Conjured by her craving--by
The years of swallowed sighs,
Bubbled syrup, candied tears, fire-
Baked sweets, ice-churned creams and
Oft chewed remorse--her child curls

She walks serene. Her hand, held
In the gathered folds of her dress,
Finger thrums, secret caresses
Upon the drum-taught surface
Of this vessel of longing with
A furtive, murmured blessing.

She broods, chews her lips as memories
Intrude of blame and desperate shame,
Many moons with scarlet stains
When waning hope, just containing
Hiccups of regurgitated
Guilt re-swallowed, was harpooned.

She lifts her chin, with firm resolve,
Refusing to re-member that dread
And thereby to keep it fed.
For, as certain as blood is red,
She will have her labor day,
Delivering of herself pure joy.


This poem did not begin as a poem but rather an attempt to write a character sketch several years ago for a female protagonist who experiences pseudocyesis one of the contributing factors of which is aerophagia. I'm going to be mean and make you Google those two words yourself. All you need to see is the search pages to get the drift. But, try reading the poem first to see what you make of it before you know what it is alluding to.

My attempt at writing the story stalled I believe because I had not gained enough distance from a personal experience to create a wholly fictional character and plot. That has been resolved and the story has been folded into my Fruits of the Spirit story world as one of the (so far) eight novels projected. This is the story world my Friday Snippets stories are from. And the story world I've been working on for the 70 Days of Sweat challenge. This is one of the stories still eligible to be designated as my NaNoWriMo project this year as I've written no narrative or dialog or other scene like material; only sketches, notes and outlines.

3 tell me a story:

Susan Helene Gottfried 9/17/2007 5:36 PM  

I like the proof of prowess, rank, fertility.

You gave me flashbacks here, babe. Part of it might be the timing, but I'm not sure.

Btw, poetry is a neat way to construct a character sketch. I may have to try it.

Ann 9/17/2007 7:00 PM  

Powerful poem today. Interesting, to use poems as character sketches.

Anonymous,  9/17/2007 7:24 PM  

It has poignancy, sadness yet hope. That maternal instinct is above all others.

Great idea, poetry as character sketch.

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