"Daughter Inside" All the eggs a woman will ever carry form in her ovaries when she is a four month old fetus in the womb of her mother. We vibrate to the rhythms of our mother’s blood before she herself is born. - Layne Redmon Little pullet, hidden in grassy cluster code of DNA— my daughter, half the girl she would become, quivering inside my ovaries inside my body, inside the body of my mother. She carried us the way any mother carries her daughters, the way her mother at 42 weeks pregnant, bent over a steaming chorus of enameled cast iron pots, toddler on her hip, varicose veins bulging what she knew in her blood. That we were born of the bastard child her mother was, that hungry little girl in the orphanage, hands folded the way the nuns taught her to behave so that someone would take her home. And she took all of us home— home into her body, home into women upon women duplicating themselves into warm bundles of sleeping infants, like the one in my arms— her fontanelle pulsating heartbeats that channel veins of time, her own pre-daughter nestled inside the ovaries I made for her, silently waiting inside their shells. "Ekphrasis of My Daughter After a poem by Audre Lorde" How the days went while you were blooming inside me. I remember each up each. How your first fluttered then jumped and I thought it was my heart. – Audre Lorde 1. It was a painting by Gustav Klimt, The Music I, 1895 and I was twenty-six and pregnant, standing in line at the post office when my daughter inside me grew electric. I felt her quiver— blind like a cave fish, her gills pulsing, sucking the image in the painting from the sea of my brain where it traveled inside my bloodstream and across the placental wall, through the umbilicus when it entered her and we held our astonishment, together. 2. The doctors told me to call to her at birth when she didn’t breathe. They say a baby recognizes her mother’s voice while they hover, choosing between worlds, so I screamed her name the sound of it piercing room air, it was the first time I had ever said it out loud and she mewed like a half-drowned kitten, her naming breaking free from my throat, fluttering through the room as she opened her eyes into the blur. 3. Once we are here, we continue without trying without a choice. whether the metronome of the heart deep below the catacombs of bone continues. I tell my daughter I know little of the mystery, I can claim nothing of the why we have survived. 4. My daughter says she was an egg in heaven and G-d dropped her into my belly. On days when I can hear no one, when not a word gets through, her voice becomes the stillness.
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