By Laura Warner
Hers was the uterus that grew the foetus,
and the ovum within it, that grew into me.
Hers were the hands that pressed my first clothes
and held my wrist too tight crossing main roads.
Hers were the hands that tucked the top sheet
so tight I couldn’t move beneath it – hands
that she touched to her mouth
when she laughed and showed her crowns.
Hers was the mouth that told me, firmly,
there’s no such thing as a willy; a firm mouth
that said to me, solemn as a monarch:
five minutes of silly can ruin a girl’s life.
Hers were the hands we wanted the baby to kick for,
whose fingers stretched to cradle it, hers the hands
that pushed and pulled at the hook and wool, shawl
settling like snowfall in her sunken abdomen.
Hers was a uterus removed when she was only thirty-two,
when my mother was just nine, and I was just egg.
Hers was a uterus removed and a cervix removed and ovaries
and Fallopian tubes removed; and hers was a mouth
that said to its daughters by only way of explanation:
it all went a bit squew-wonk.