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Belly Good

Written by: Marge Piercy | Biography
 | Quotes (4) |
 A heap of wheat, says the Song of Songs 
but I've never seen wheat in a pile. 
Apples, potatoes, cabbages, carrots 
make lumpy stacks, but you are sleek 
as a seal hauled out in the winter sun. 
I can see you as a great goose egg 
or a single juicy and fully ripe peach. 
You swell like a natural grassy hill. 
You are symmetrical as a Hopewell mound, 
with the eye of the navel wide open, 
the eye of my apple, the pear's port 
window. You're not supposed to exist 
at all this decade. You're to be flat 
as a kitchen table, so children with 
roller skates can speed over you 
like those sidewalks of my childhood 
that each gave a different roar under 
my wheels. You're required to show 
muscle striations like the ocean 
sand at ebb tide, but brick hard. 
Clothing is not designed for women 
of whose warm and flagrant bodies 
you are a swelling part. Yet I confess 
I meditate with my hands folded on you, 
a maternal cushion radiating comfort. 
Even when I have been at my thinnest, 
you have never abandoned me but curled 
round as a sleeping cat under my skirt. 
When I spread out, so do you. You like 
to eat, drink and bang on another belly. 
In anxiety I clutch you with nervous fingers 
as if you were a purse full of calm. 
In my grandmother standing in the fierce sun 
I see your cauldron that held eleven children 
shaped under the tent of her summer dress. 
I see you in my mother at thirty 
in her flapper gear, skinny legs 
and then you knocking on the tight dress. 
We hand you down like a prize feather quilt. 
You are our female shame and sunburst strength.



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