Glossary of birthing terms

Marisa Cappetta 2014

Her foot is a page in an atlas,
a map of her birth road.

She is slung in a hammock oriented
between theodolites of twin aunts.

Her grandmothers harvest
long grass along the shoreline

and weave a cradle, dolls with
downy hair, and a birthing blanket.

For the first nine months her father
is a whisper in her ear,

her mother a thunder of heartbeat.
When she is nursed and nuzzled

she sees them as an aerial survey,
or nine patch quilt blocks.

She is a transparency of veins, like roads
overlaid on the contours of her parents.

She was there in the room

Marisa Cappetta 2014

She was there in the room, and in
the petri dish, when they were made.

Her first child, a daughter, is red dirt.
She blew away in the easterlies.

Her second child, a son this time,
is fog bound. He scurries in the valley until

the sun burns him away, drives him into
the hills. He chases wallabies with fingers of mist.

Her third child is a black cygnet.
It paddles up river before it can be sexed.

The fourth child is knitted by her sister.
She splits a stitch and one becomes two.

How it Happened that a Carpenter Found a Piece of Wood that Wept and Laughed Like a Child

Marisa Cappetta 2013

A faint pulse beats in the heart of the tree he fells.
The keen edge of his plane wakes her from a three hundred year sleep,

wakes her from dreams of thickets,
wolves and dark cottages hidden deep in the forest.

Her darling, her carpenter, carves her hands –
a journeyman who earned his nails building fortresses for tyrants

sees her thoughts like a shadow-show and even he,
a man accustomed to ebony halls and adumbral woods,

wonders if he should stop while she is half finished.
Contradictory, ungrateful! her thoughts shout

and he fears for the child taking shape in his hands.
He continues his work long into the moonless night.

Persistence turns her bark to skin and before he can varnish her
she becomes a real girl with an oakish consciousness.