Poems & Essays

19 Aug

Abdomen

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My abdomen used to be perfect
an expanse of skin marred by nothing
but the cup of my navel
like a goblet in golden sand, 
ready to be filled with any heady liquid I chose.
Taut as a drum covered in velvet
with my hipbones rising upward
like two perfect dorsal fins
cutting across the sea of my skin
leaving not even a ripple behind in their wake.
But now my abdomen has changed 
no longer a pristine field covered in untouched snow.
Instead the footprints and tread marks of my life
trudge across its surface
sinking into skin that has grown soft and more pliable
with each new child and passing year.
It has a patterning of purple, red and white scars
like veins of quartz through a rock face
starting under the canopy of my ribs
where they opened me up 
and removed my bile bag.
Moving down into my navel, 
now a broken wine glass 
lovingly pieced back together
from when they sent a camera in to explore
what I looked like from the inside out
because some endometrial cells 
didn’t want to call my uterus home.
Finishing at the lowest point possible
where they made a cut to lift out 
two new bodies built in the pouch 
I keep hidden under my belly flesh
like the secret pocket on the inside of a jacket.
A scar that acknowledges original sin
on my original skin.
and runs perpendicular to 
my shark bite hipbones
no longer visible 
but still circling under the surface.
It has changed, this centre of my body
because everything leaves a mark.

Alison D. Hauch is an educator and mother of twin daughters who studied English Literature and Dance at Western University. In her spare time she loves to read, practice yoga and bake fattening food. She writes about the everyday experiences of being a woman and a mother and how these experiences have changed over time.

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