Wednesday, December 19, 2018

"Umbilicus" by Aparna Sanyal, Poet of the Week

Umbilicus
Aparna Sanyal
 
Umbilicus dried,
wrapped in white mulmul binding.
Blood, tears, sweat ingrained. 
We thrashed together 
then untethered, apart,
to become mother and son,
fibrous souls undone.
We were birthed, by the act of birth— 
refined, pain blest. 
An alicorn stab, then seconds gasping 
through hazed eyes. 
And a barely recognized fear 
that you and I would never feel
this coupling again. 
This ritual severance of pith would rend us 
forevermore. 
So, we—
your father and I,
keep this red thread.
This shriveled rope tether of our nuclei, 
this relic of our being,
for when you are reborn as father.
We will hand it forward then,  
to bind us generational, gestational, 
forevermore. 
This umbilicus,
our core. 

Poet’s Notes: If you had asked me a few years ago if I would ever consider keeping a shriveled piece of discarded flesh in the most sacred recesses of my cupboard, I would’ve scoffed. And yet, there it is, the tiny piece of brown cord, a tangible physical piece of the unique connection between my son and me that means more to me than gold. 

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