Ode to Stretchmarks

 
You silver spiders, skinny legs criss-crossing
my hips, you sneaky thief of taut and allure,
how you snakedance on my belly
like seaweed swaying in the brine,
waving a sign that announces used womb,
empty lot— you made your move, a hostile
takeover, some kind of adverse
possession, multiplying like mice
in the pantry’s warm nook, blind
newborns nuzzling in nests of castoff hair,
nosing around for a lick of pastry flour
or macaroni nibble, a universe
of spindled creatures making me
their center, incubating in the belly’s button,
site of the shorn umbilicus useful again—
you are like that, colonizers with intricate bridges
and sideroads, a baghdad café
for all the poets to come shake it
and sweat, you’re a houseparty on hips,
iridescent when lights blow out
shining enough milky moon to shimmy by—
you teacher of this stubborn child,
welcome to my body, you icing
on my cake, you life’s proof,
I join the party —
why did I ever fight you?

from Contrary, University of Chicago’s Literary Journal, contrarymagazine.com, Spring 2015