Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2018  Vol. 17 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Week 25: Rutabaga

Stretch marks run : in the family :
looking down at your growing
: purpling : stomach : you see
your mother’s : pinkish-gray
ladder rungs : no one’s fingers
would willingly climb : cracks
in polar ice : streaks of soapy water
dried on shower glass : riverbeds
raw after a drought : a gathering
of dimming stars : ripple where
your son’s nail slid your shoulder blade : 
You love my imperfections : you say : the stria
rising from your pelvis : pale stitches
where you were never cut or sewn
back together : where you expanded
: then contracted down : a balloon
or bulb or supernova : a body : you
are still in awe of : a pregnant woman
changes more in 9 months than a man does
in his whole lifetime : her uterus
amasses 20-times its weight : her blood
turns : darker : blue : skin flays
without breaking : rivers and rivers
on her belly : it’s bigger : your son digs
his elbow in to make a valley : apologizes
to the flesh : I love your belly : he says : sees
the marks : kisses anyway : takes his palm
and ear to them : they’re all your perfections
: your husband tells you : and you look up
where perfect comes from : etymology
easier to bare : than skin : from Middle
English and Old French parfit : 
finished : complete : brought to full
development : but there are still so many
rivers to grow : so many months to look
more like your mother : to fight your body’s
generational becoming : Perfect : the tense
a retrospective present : connects a past
occurrence with a current one : your stomach :
a cosmos : constellations only beginning
to glow : though its stars must have died
long ago : rivers and rivers : for their light
to trail down : a mother’s skin  

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