Bodhi of a poem

The good mother, when her belly swells,
listens to the moon.

From their granite beds
they can smell her intention,
so she digs secret nests at night,
and squats in violet shadows
to give birth.

The good mother holds her offspring
like a snowflake, tests its mettle
in the palm of one hand. A single drop,
yet to them it’s more unsettling than a flood
or avalanche. They know how gravity works.
They know that even the littlest drip
can wriggle into nicks, splinter boulders,
invoke dust.

The good mother doesn’t differentiate
between snow and stone,
she doesn’t need to pick at the stitch
between gravel and its undoing.
The innovation of such a woman is muscular.
It has the guts to abseil expectations,
the nerve to carve a landscape
out of nothing but possibility.

The good mother dries her thighs.
They have forged a blade as sharp as any metaphor.
She knows they will cut her creation along its bias
and examine its entrails,
convinced they can predict what used to exist
between the words and silence.

Sometimes they patch it with catgut
before they cover it with a sheet.


(Bodhi means awakening or enlightenment)

Victoria McGrath


Victoria McGrath has been widely published in journals and anthologies in Australia and the US, including Best Australian Poems 2014 and 2015, and was shortlisted for the Newcastle Poetry Prize in 2013. She lives in Yass, New South Wales, and is currently finalising her first manuscript.

© 2018