Ghost Umbilicus

Madelyn Garner
| poetry


To touch the indentation, purled and pinched, centered in a swale

of flesh between bone ridges, point


where tissue was severed, and we were torn from the beat

of blood-music—to crown, to slip the caul, to cry.


We are biomass, cellular matter one shares only with oneself.

Between tocks, emptiness begets emptiness


as we shiver with loneliness

desperate to be enfolded as one might by a beloved, by very Being itself.


No matter how often we bang against each other, thrust

a tongue in a mouth, shift our bodies like tectonic plates, we remain natal.


Breath or gulp or syringe, nothing satiates us, nothing completes:

sweetest of water, semen, Blood of Christ.

Madelyn Garner is the author of Hum of Our Blood, winner of the Tupelo Press/3: A Taos Press July Open (2017). Recent poems have appeared in The Best American Poetry, Alaska Quarterly Review, and Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion.

leave me alone with my head under the pillow
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