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by Joanna Pearson

The baby, bath-time belly glistening, shows
his center mark, that cicatricial gash
the mystics contemplated as a rose,
omphalic core, a mandala. He’ll splash
bright soapy rings and circlets in the tub.
His tummy glints round nuclei of light.
Leaning towards her slippery son to scrub,
the mother thinks of buds or seeds, the tight
and knotted body of an unhusked snail
when her hands glaze his perfect belly button.
And then he laughs, his small mouth like a bell.
She feels the resonance, its spreading sudden,
and reaching for the towel, feels the pull
of love like fossil pools — deep, umbilical.

Pat Jones
Published 23 August 2011