Journal » Trout 12 » Nautilus Woman [Cherie Barford]
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nautilus woman

Cherie Barford

i'm aware of sweat
running the channel
between heart and belly

spreading unevenly
into the waistband
of my too-tight skirt

sticking to the space
where a babe
could be growing

and into this thought
a woman in a red-brown
mother hubbard dress
saunters and bonjours me

she’s as beautiful
as a deep sea nautilus

a mollusc with an ivory shell
adorned with red-brown
stripes on the outside
mother of pearl on the inside

she’s wrapped
a terracotta scarf
about her head

frizzy black strands
of petulant hair escape

defiant in the heat
they will not lie down
smooth with sweat
against her scalp

her shin-length
loose-fitting dress
is striped with pearly lace
between the shoulder blades
and on the flared sleeves
beneath her elbows

she moves slowly in the heat
hands rubbing her swollen belly
and i wonder if my body
ripening with years
can house another child
survive another birthing

the woman is near her time

i can feel the drag
of her babe’s head
positioned to move
from buoyancy
into its mother’s arms

we smile at each other
lightly brush fingers
as she glides by


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© Copyright 2004 Cherie Barford & Trout.