I read somewhere that Saint Thomas Aquinas said that only man can possess the full
image of God, that woman is impure, unfinished: spirit is to flesh as male is to female.
When I touch her hair, her body, I feel its intricate history tremble through my fingers.
Not just clay and dust and ache, but warm texture, the swell of 100 trillion living cells,
inhaling and exhaling across three million years. She lays open before me as I trace and
lick every crease, all surfaces blushed and shivering, aching contentment. Her organic
form, soft and wreathed in folds. The wild glistening. Scent. What is this in-between,
unselfconscious space I’ve found, but a benediction to the miracle of living, breathing
flesh? Vulnerability is itself a prayer.
Melissa Payne grew up in a small town in South-East Queensland, but has also spent time living in Europe, as well as Brisbane. She is a poet with a Bachelor of Creative & Professional Writing from the Queensland University of Technology.