My body was round once,
 my stomach an inner tube
 in the sea of my pregnancy.
 Even my legs inflated 
 to keep me afloat with child
 as I looked down and watched
 my breasts drifting from
 my center of gravity to my son's.
 Now there is nothing left,
 save a few ripples of flesh
 and some silver streaks 
 that emerge when I bathe.
 But I remember my belly floating.
 I remember holding onto it for life.



I didn't come to this camp
to advertise my body,
just to let it air out
and loose all its stays.
So when that swan leapt at me
like my own tomcat in heat,
I was annoyed.
But I can tell you now,
swans do not sing sweetly
before they die.
The sound is more like
a tire going flat,
or flatulence.
These glasses are my trophy.
I carved them from what was left
of that swan's bill and bones
after I got through with him.
They don't really count
as clothes.


Breasts erect with milk
are firm and hard and burn
when there is no child to suck
the fire out of them.  They
exaggerate the clay flesh,
explain the open mouth
ajar with labor pains and lead
us to the eyes, half closed,
caught in a grimace that
every woman wants to wear
if she wants to bear the child
that will climb out of her belly
and back on top of it to suck
the milk right out of the earth
that forms the human figure.


Even without the insinuated head,
she has all the plastic essentials
male artists have been duplicating
for two thousand years:
two breasts separated by a chisel,
the sculpted mound of a stomach,
and a line of demarcation at the legs.
Some man air-brushed the sex
others since then have been trying
to flesh out without upstaging the penis. 
But I like how her knees turn in,
compressing the weight of her thighs,
and how one breast is smaller.

Felicia Mitchell


"Venus of Meadowview" and "Nudist Lady With Swan Sunglasses" first appeared in
Columbia: A Journal of Literature and the Arts