Tavye Neese




Seed-Swallower

Amber gourd—it was the first, or last.
An unmarried woman, in her hunger,

ate hardened husk, swallowed
bitter seed, while the fathers

lamented, What abomination
will grow, seed-swallower,

without us!
In the woman’s womb,

in her every hollow 
the child rooted—     

all vine and tendon, vein and leaf,
new vulva a soft orchid,

tongue a tap-root.
And when the woman split,

her abdomen swirling like cumulus,
they could not keep it from coming.

Sliding from labia,
came the unfurling of Eden—

one girl, her voice of loam and water,
one girl, turning barren stone green.