… the placenta is a kind of language—
perhaps our first one, our true mother tongue.
‘On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous’, Ocean Vuong
Walking with my friend in the straw autumn
grasslands of her country rental, watching
a sunset working alchemy on the dam. New life
is in us – my second, with his coral sponges
ready to breathe, her first, a humble cell
cumulus that will soon fill so much of her.
She wants to know what it’s like. Crickets rattle
the cooling earth as I consider which story to share.
She is scared, so I won’t speak now of the looping fears
I carried with my first child, how I couldn’t trust
my body’s ability to nourish and birth.
I can’t use the word “magical” in the same week
I’ve had to ice my swollen vulva with frozen pineapple,
so I search for other words. We move close,
feet shifting slow in cured grass as the moon rises
on candlebarks, low and large and yolk yellow.
I tell her I always feel accompanied – the beat
of limbs within me in the waiting room,
where people stare at iPhones expressionless
over their face masks, and while walking
Coburg Lake, below where prisoners laboured
in the bluestone haunt, watching ibises
on Bin Chicken Island scramble the peak hour roar.
And I tell her that when I slump into the couch
exhausted each night, having found no
moments in my day to write, I remind myself
my body is creating with its blood utterances –
my placenta speaking the first language.