14 weeks

Kitzinger* says
when I feel it move
it will be like a little fish
zigzagging inside.
Kitzinger says
it’s about as long as my index finger —
like the pearlescent gourami
in its father’s aquarium.

A little fish
or a mouse inside
fully formed, with little toes
a beating heart
and rice-paper skin
If a boy, a little penis
and if a girl,
a little womb.

*Anthropologist, childbirth educator and author Sheila Kitzinger

(First published in An Endless Afternoon)


‘Standing with Light’ by Michael Iwanoff.
1987, oil on canvas.
New Norcia Art Gallery, Western Australia.

Bent black trees.
A huddled settlement:
herd and children.
Black birth houses,
blood bridges,
death-blue water, drips of ancient snow.
Sheer cliffs — hundreds of feet.

Then light, dusting, manna-ing down
offering fake salvation
McDonald’s redemption —
and the shivering villagers, unguided, follow.