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by Melissa Studdard
Because I was a cave,
and you were the bird that flew through
my hollows, when they bathed the pain away,
the light on your face looked like
peace after a long and onerous
war. I knew then what it meant
to conjure fire
from two sticks, to be an ocean
giving life to a wave, to invent
the wheel and its axle, unwind torque,
create a perfect language
from gurgles and sighs. Your body
was a new and sacred space. I was a universe
cooling after a great expanse.
And because bright cells
clung together to be you,
I could believe
I built the ark that saved humanity.
In animals walking two by two.
That I'm the one who sat beneath
the Bodhi tree
and begot the sacred fig
I tell you, Athena sprung
from my own split
emergence is a teaching.
Because your hands and feet
were softer than sand. Because before
there were canyons
or valleys or lakes or winds,
you curled your hand around my finger,
and, with your touch, delivered the all.
Originally published in Pirene's Fountain.