Chambers

If you press your ear against my chest you will hear a clock ticking, a slow and heavy pendulum dangling.

An aorta feeding organs blood, the sound of rushing rivers and waterfalls in suspended silence, then crashing on rocks below. Inside four chambers lie four very different worlds. One gray and black with a murmur, a flutter. A beat. A murmuration of birds, flying together as one shape changing trapeze act. Shifting with wind, with movement of an arm or the brush of fingers through hair. My body conducts them, endlessly swirling, colliding like chemical flakes in a snowglobe.

Second chamber is a field of grass where I would run naked as a child and pick daisies that were as tall as my head. Remembering the feeling of grass touching my skin and coloring my legs like a paintbrush. How the world was seen from inside that field and it stretched for as far as my eyes could see. A quiet crawlspace of a chamber where one could crawl beneath the grass and hide with crickets and ladybugs-poke your head out to be touched by butterflies.

Third chamber is for my sorrow. It is deep scarlet red, with chocolate undertones. This chamber is cold and hollow, yet full of voices and words that bounce off walls. Words like sex and love and ache. Words that mean betrayal and feel like sharpened knives. This chamber is for storage, full of drawers and old letters filed next to lessons learned and categorized by relevance. It is cluttered and often gusts of wind come in and scatter everything. Your patterns become clear stretched out before you and you promise you won’t make that mistake again-but you do, you just do it differently this time. You disguise it, but underneath it’s still the same. You cannot truly grow in this chamber. You come here to learn, to remember, to grieve.

The fourth chamber is for my son. A safe space beneath my breast where he still cradles his head and listens to the rhythm of my breath. Of my beat. Of the first sound he knew, before my voice, before a song or a story read. My pulse was his music, his soundtrack to dance to. He knows the sound of it racing or panicked, the sound when it sleeps or is alarmed, the sound it makes when I’m relaxed or contemplating or when I’m giving birth or when I was breastfeeding.

If you pressed your ear to my heart beat you would hear whispers of birch bark and beds of ferns by the edge of a bog, you would hear owls calling in the night, a galaxy being born and another dying.

You would hear the words, “Don’t leave me alone here.” You would hear fear and the voice of a little girl who just wanted to please. You would hear the words, “I just can’t let it go” and they would be a lie, because I can let it go, I choose not to. I choose not to because sometimes it’s easier to hold onto something that has hurt you when that pain has become so familiar that you know it like reading braille with your fingertips. Hurt is intimate. So instead of letting it go, you let it stay. It may be one of the only memories you have left of him. You may have thrown many of the good ones away. And sometimes we need reminders. You would hear the words, “Sometimes we need reminders, that even though love is painful, we accept and choose that pain. Sometimes pain is more familiar than pleasure.”

You might hear the sound of a smile, or my heart swelling, you might hear it burst or set itself aflame with anger if someone it loves is being mistreated. It may tell you to go. It may not say a word. It’s a powerful, yet fickle living machine.

If I stretch my limbs out I can feel it pumping, pushing blood to my fingertips and circulating. If I listen carefully I can hear it flow through my head, the murmur, the beat, the memories.

Murmuration
Beat.
Childhood
Beat.
Sorrow.
Beat.
Son
Beat.
Heart
Beat.
Write
Beat.
Now
Beat.

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Three Words

Three words

A silent scream
Feminist messages unfold
My origami womb
Keeps changing shapes
Folded, manipulated, locked.

My womb is
full of wonder
Heavy with ghosts
Full of emptiness
Phantom feet kicking

My womb is
a safe haven
A soft pillow
Lay your head
down and dream
Golden, swollen chrysalis
My womb a

home long abandoned

Keeper of secrets
Shielded by loss
It leads me
Speaks to me
It bleeds me

My womb is
a temporary graveyard
For lost souls
For those who
misunderstood the meaning
the word, NO!
For the burden
I cling to
For the seconds
For the minutes
For the hours
taken from me

You start to
Believe the lies
truths you were told
All parts rearrange
into faded images
worn out edges
Into stories without
a happy ending

A place that
once held life
once held hope
foolish little dreams
You wanted touch
that ripped through
ribs of iron
Eyes of steel
watching over me

My womb forgives
the improper entries
a naive girl
lost and longing
defiant and angry
I learned to
listen, patient love

I owe my
womb an apology
For ever doubting
For never trusting
My own instincts
For censoring expression
For leading it
the wrong way
For shed tears
For silencing you
For treating you
Like a sidekick
Like a kick
Like a thorn
in my side

I apologize for
too many years
for not fighting
back, when all
I saw was
Black, bleak, blurry
For my feet
that couldn’t move
For abandoning myself
For running away
For letting you
hold this space

For accepting this

For the escape

(inspired by prompts from http://www.isabelabbott.com/writing-the-womb/ )