If I could be re-birthed
in a new skin, prickly and pocked where quills might grow
all identity erased for an unsullied start
I would be hatched,
shaking free the shackles of spent shell
where I tumbled free in a soft balloon
ready to glide unfettered on the updrafts above the earth.
If I could be re-birthed, I would be hatched
not born bearing the mark of my mother’s pain on my belly into my death
that no amount of navel-gazing will explain or erase.
Not born, with this reminder of my mother’s fears
pulsing into my eager cells along with her blood
so that I live my life through these things that were not mine
and that will never leave me
reaching through the umbilicus
and down the generations with disappointment and guilt.
Spending my life tending those scars
picking over their shape and depth
until they open and weep into mistakes I make, as I try not to repeat hers
until I recognise her disappointment in my own heart.
in those moments of greatest pain
when the world betrays me
and a cyclone of fear or grief lifts me from my moorings
I will clutch my arms to my belly
at the terror of my untethered solitude.