In the dark my palm explored
her swelled belly, moving up the crest
of pubic bone, over the protracted
umbilicus, gliding over the abdomen's
high ridge, sloped like a half-moon
risen at dusk. She breathed deeply,
and between inspirations, I felt its limbs
thrust, as if it were tugging the air.
I imagined its hands summoning
all we could give. Despite winter
bringing down hundreds of oak,
I knew we had given up on death.
It was enough to be surrounded
by walnut and almond, to listen
to the songs of scrub jay and crow,
or know heat would soon drive us
to the shade of a mulberry. Some nights
I cradled the whole of her, briefly,
so that our arms mingled like the roots
of an old orchard. And while we slept
petals spun from their blossoms.
Poems by Richard Callin:
TIMES TEN: An Anthology of Northern California Poets