Christine Stewart-Nunez will be reading from her new book of poetry, Keeping Them Alive, at Southwest Minnesota State University, tomorrow, Thursday, March 3 at 7 p.m., in CH 201. I love the "voluptous rapture," as poet Lee Ann Roripaugh describes it, that Christine captures in this praise poem about pregnancy.
In Praise of a Pregnant Body
Some women count calories, step on the altar
of weight each week, mourn the loss of waist--
jeans too tight to button, I prefer to blossom.
I surrender to coconut salmon in banana leaves,
miso soup with prawns, paella, lasagna, seafood
risotto, mangu and tostones, salads of blueberries,
blood oranges, and papaya, the bloom of belly,
breasts spilling over seams, petals of areolas darkening.
I’ve abandoned the lunch-break park with its tire swing
and picnic of stale chips for the circus, lion tamers,
dogs with purple tutus, magicians pulling doves
from top hats, trapeze artists somersaulting
through the air. I want the Big Top’s pillows
of cotton candy dissolving in my mouth, mounds
of popcorn shiny with butter, globs of caramel
apples, hot dogs drenched in mustard.
Blood thickening and milk springing from nipples
remind me: be open. Enough of this suburb
with its square meals served in look-alike
houses. Give me Paris with its artists scattered
on sidewalks, painted confetti, dancers
in discotheques stretching onto streets at dawn.
With more body to envelop, I’ll browse boutiques
at the Rue du St.-Honoré, lounge sipping café-au-lait,
nibbling a croissant’s flakey layers. Order coq-au-vin
or pot-au-feu, decorate the board with baguette,
brie. Will mousse aux fraises complete me?
If I’d been born with different genes--
petite, straight-hipped, willowy-tall—would I enjoy
fat bowls of kalamata olives, sliced avocado,
desserts of mangoes in cream, pumpkin pie?
I surrender to possibility, to joy, to feasts
of seven-grain breads, lamb stews, chocolate
soufflés. I thank this baby whose growing bones
demand wheels of provolone, sticks of mozzarella,
cubes of sharp cheddar, cups of vanilla yogurt
at two a.m., whose kicks remind me to taste
roast beef, venison steak, the cream of deviled eggs.