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Mittelschmerz

May 17, 1987

Halfway through the narrow waist of the hourglass, the sand thins to a pause--time momentarily stops. The moon points its divining rod at my thighs, one ovary releases its dewdrop into the dark. Halfway through the month, halfway through the year that marks the middle of my league-long life, I round myself out, I swell like a ball of cotton dropped into water. And my body becomes a bridge, a highway; all my rivers are singing, singing. Only now, when my womb awaits its pearl, when I'm ablush with desire, only now do I feel the tremors of the dead. Their sterile harvest stiffens my joints; their noisy silence pulls my breath back in. Mother country, where is the map? I still don't know what my body knows, nor can I postpone my bewilderment. The flesh and blood of my life snap back: but my spirit, whatever a spirit is, waits for one more chance to break out.

From "The Enchanted Room, Poems by Maurya Simon" (Copper Canyon Press, POB 271, Port Townsend, Washington 98368: $9, paperback; 105 pp.). Simon, 36, who was born in New York and grew up in Europe and Southern California, now lives on Mount Baldy and teaches writing at Scripps College and UC Riverside. Her work has been published in Poetry magazine, Grand Street, and elsewhere. This is her first book. 1986 Maurya Simon, by permission. Mittelschmerz: German, "middle sorrow," ovulation.

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