My Mother's Belly

by Justine Goodchild

I touch my belly and think of my mother
how she was once swollen, overripe with the growth of me.
A 29 year old peach.
I touch my belly
and I feel that it is swollen, from wine and laughter,
overindulgences that do not sustain but are guaranteed to feed,
just me.
Will it ever be strong enough to house another?
I touch my belly, 
the ripples remind me of calm ocean waves that my lovers
unwittingly sail on directly down to my storm.
I touch my belly and am pre-disposed in thinking that it's too large.
I remind myself that it's the vast mansion of my experiences,
the temple to my gut, my body's compass.
I get you to touch my belly so you can learn the shape my body takes
when it is hungry
so that whenever you touch my belly you will desire to keep it full.
You will rightfully interpret my growls for sustenance as pangs for pleasure and
never tire of filling me.
I touch my belly and think of my mother.
I imagine her on our porch, leaving food out for stray cats
who stalked the streets in search of Estrus.
I touch my belly and feel her bowing,
her crowded ribs inhibiting her ability to bend over
but still
she bends.
My mother and her belly, 
feeding the whole world.

Jessica Salgueiro