in the beginning spiral arteries unwound

a river thundered to the site
where the capsule was buried,
flesh into flesh, bathing the villi in blood:
our first exchange

within days a structure
sprang up along the outermost wall,
a trading post that would balloon
into a roaring bazaar

teeming with vessels from both sides
bearing bottled air, fresh supplies,
fecal waste, heady hormone clouds,
white flags of phosphocholineโ€ฆย 

everything you need to build a world,
and all without a drop of blood
tumbling over the boundary

stand back

to marvel at the bright metropolis,
fairy tale of eternal growth,
where futures were traded
behind chemical shields

electricity! jazz! foreigners! excess!
arteries at capacity and everyone you met
only ever passing through

to fall in love in such a place,
blood deafening, fingers plunged
into the very same well of history,
never quite touching

nine months from cyst to city,
cradle of civilization making ready
to launch a human into space

that day the sea drained dry,
the sky collapsed in red clumps
but the tether held, quietly shipping
the last of the oxygen

then you peeled away from the uterine wall,
followed your charge into the cold,
slipped into the waiting bucket
and were gone

skin to skin by then we didnโ€™t see you,
infinity in a pound of flesh



Erica Hesketh is a poet and musician based in London. Her poems have been published by the Mum Poem Press, Lunate and harana poetry. She is currently working on a poetry collection reflecting on the early years of motherhood. During the week she runs the Poetry Translation Centre, a charity dedicated to celebrating contemporary poetry from around the world in English translation.