May 20, 2014

Becca Hensley

I THOUGHT I WAS A FERTILITY GODDESS

That Goddess of Willendorf,
stone figure unearthed
by sturdy farmer’s hands,
speaks to me.
And now I burst with children,
I am jam packed, crammed,
congested with little hands
and dirty faces.
I embrace them, even
as they wriggle to break free.

But now she warns me
of ominous days to come.
Days without reason
when infants have grown
taller than me,
smarter than me,
with arms that reach further,
voices that sing louder,
and legs that run faster.

I make clean faces,
sew buttons,
scramble eggs while I can.
She whispers to me:
things I must know
in the afternoon.
She smiles demurely
when she tells me that
from their clean faces
come sharp words that make
bloody gashes;
that strong arms will
push me away.

Oh, I would bleed gladly
to go backward and sleep
twisted in their baby blankets,
softly touching their tiny feet
with mine.

from Rattle #20, Winter 2003