Flotsam by A. W. Earl

Sep 27, 2021

Shattered by it, for a time, confused;
this body that would not obey
would not contain sexless simplicity
but grew fat, graceless, unsaved,
all mushroomed by the rain.
Unlovely, I would grab my breasts
as though to drag them off the bone,
unwitting Amazon
who drew a bow and loosed
a thousand words at childhood lost.

But the sea was in me for a time,
coil of salt against my womb.
Moon-drawn, sustained, and I
was ocean, I was cave, was
deep well brimming
wild love brimming
light of stars
bright things enshrined
sacred as daybreak or
kiss of winter on my cheek
for a time. A clot of blood, no more.
Darlings drifting off into the dark
leave me Earth-born, leave me
child-body on the shore
man-body overcome
all motherhood stripped off,
all function done.

Blind Norn, what is left but finger-twitch?
The stars compelled me,
stubbornness of my hunter’s breast,
or mouth that makes male scorn, gaze
that will not conform.
Some things are clearer in the dark.
I stand on this shore and ask who forged me so,
stand tall, laying off menarche like a robe.
The world awaits, all flower-wreathed,
to startle to my laugh, to wonder
at the things that I have won.

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