Full Jars

He was dough. Tiny head
raw, hole still open and pliable
on top. His smell was rich,
and it hung dense and red in her nostrils.
It was the scent of dark soil.

The scent of birth.

And he laid in the crook
of her arm, eyes puffed with yeast,
while she sang in thick bark-laced tones.
Notes created in her mind,
bristly creatures that bubbled up
and toppled between parched lips.
Lullabies that were birthed
and then perished in the ear of this child.

ta me i ngra tu, mo beatha
cruscin lan, cruscin lan

Soft ringed arms flailed
as if to catch lumbered notes.
When he mewed the small,
errant sounds were rich
and sweet as his smell.
She listened.
Coos fluttered:

Monarch wings, delicate filigree
so familiar as they rose in her belly
and now sighed from his throat
to crawl lusty-legged across full
breast and tendered nipple.
His breaths kept rhythm
with the heartbeat
pressed against newborn ear.
She held her own soul.

Heard her blood rush
in the movement
of leaven lips, felt
nucleus stir with the sound
of opened and closed lid.
So intimately entwined:
cell to corded cell.
Her heart pulsed
around his own.
And so she listened,
then held a clear glass jar
beside the tiny dough mouth.

Gurgled sound spilled
down the smooth walls and clung
in streaks of crystallized sugar.
When he once again laid silent,
yeasted eyes full and heavy,
she closed silver lid on glass:
faint metallic impression
that left their mouths dry.

Soon enough she would climb
and place this jar on a shelf
far from reach.
Now, she breathed heavy
and smiled
as lungs filled with his scent.
And she sang in deep bark-tones

cruscin lan, cruscin lan
ta me i ngra tu, mo beatha
cruscin lan, cruscin lan

Catherine Utsler

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