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Anatomy of pregnancy. Engraving from the 16th century of the anatomy of a pregnant woman's urogenital system. Within the opened uterus (lower center) is a fetus. The ovaries are at lower left and lower right, with the vagina at bottom center. At bottom left is the bladder, whilst the kidneys are at upper left and upper right. The vertical blood vessels between the kidneys are the aorta artery (narrower of the 2) and the inferior vena cava vein. These split (at center) to form iliac veins and arteries. The umbrella-shaped object (at top) is the liver. Image taken from De conceptu et generatione hominis (1580) by Jakob Rueff.
Anatomy

 

Again, this year, she relives us;
‘Love, I talked by the swell of wings
to that bird-like creature nesting in me,
and my walk swayed
as if in the cave of my chest
bats see-sawed from my ribs,
fastened to sleep with their feet.

How you too clung to my walls;
resisted for fifty-two hours to turn up
for a slap, and only then, me.
And how, darling, I told you
we only grow around our bones,
that our true anatomy is loam and wind.
Now, let me show you how your fingers
spread across mine like roots, how your cold skin
on that day of firsts, resembled feathers’.

 

© Malene Engelund
Picture 10803621, 16th century engraving

 

Malene Engelund was born in Aalborg, Denmark. Her poems have been published in a variety of magazines and anthologies and she was co-founder and editor of the Days of Roses anthology series. She was highly commended in the Faber New Poets 2013/14 competition and her pamphlet The Wild Gods will be published by Valley Press in spring 2016. She lives in London.