Belly Button – Belinda Rimmer

 

On days so dark

I think only of eclipses

my fingers ache from probing

as I try to find a fragment

of my mother

inside my belly button.

 

One small discovery

and we could be reconciled.

Hours with only fluff

and other debris to show.

My belly feels sore, tight.

 

Nothing prepares me

for a seahorse,

a bloody seahorse,

stuck part way out,

tail hooked.

I ease it onto my chest.

 

In a bowl of salty water

it bobs about, happily.

 

What is it trying to tell me?

 

To forget the whole nurturing business,

focus on making your own way

or get what you need from books,

there are plenty of good mothers (and fathers)

lurking within the pages.

 

Note: Male seahorses give birth; neither parent care for their young.

 

 

Profile18Belinda has had a varied career: psychiatric nurse, counsellor, lecturer and creative arts practitioner. Her poems have appeared in magazines, for example, Brittle Star, Dream Catcher, ARTEMISpoetry and Obsessed with Pipework. She has poems on-line and in anthologies. She won the Poetry in Motion Competition to turn her poem into a film and read at the Cheltenham Literature Festival. You can find her at belindarimmer.com.

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Slow Clapping – Richard King Perkins II

 

It would be an untrue kindness

to say it started innocently enough

 

when we both knew otherwise.

 

I asked you to walk with me

to the side of the building

hidden by shadow and irregular trees

 

where we could speak freely

about dandelions and reverse-image suns.

 

As intended, the conversation ended

and the sidelong glances

into distance and unlit corners began

 

and we became exciting people once again;

nearly glorious

 

but from the moment we caught our breath

there was a redefining;

 

a subtle sickness of stomach,

the ebb of coherence

 

so that even our false selves

had lost whatever fragment of innocence

that might still have remained.

 

And yet,

because we belonged to no one indefinitely

 

there was a steadying, a recovery,

liars made well by ill-given pardons

 

our pathetic espousals applauded

by the rhythmic clapping

of lime gloves in an artificial darkness.

 

rkpiiRichard King Perkins II is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in long-term care facilities. He lives in Crystal Lake, IL, USA with his wife, Vickie and daughter, Sage. He is a three-time Pushcart, Best of the Net and Best of the Web nominee whose work has appeared in more than a thousand publications.