Eggshell Flesh – A Poem for National Poetry Day

Blue Eggshell

Happy National Poetry Day!  This year’s theme is ‘Vision’, which put me in mind of one of my most popular poems, ‘Eggshell Flesh’.  It’s the title poem from my full collection and it first appeared in The Lonely Crowd in 2018.  The poem is written in the voice of my pregnant self – visualizing my daughter to be.

In my second pregnancy, I felt more relaxed and able to write about the experience, but having gone through excruciating pain in my first labour, I was worried about having to give birth again.  Writing ‘Eggshell Flesh’ helped me to clearly imagine the baby that would join our family.  I found myself remembering that first embrace – the instant entwining of lives and the love that begins and never ends.

For me, the phrase ‘Eggshell Flesh’ crosses between mother and child, embodying a shared vulnerability and a new relationship that must grow in order to endure.

Eggshell Flesh

I carry your eggshell flesh against my swelling veins,
my bones have bowed to your movements
as you paddle, flail, grow.

Electric shocks of your blossoming self,
strike me at times of rest, and your whale waves
ripple my belly, let me guess which limb is pressing.

When my skin protests,
it tightens,
starts a tick-clock pulse,
reminds me of labour’s
back-beating sickness,
my trusted mountain visuals.

Let me visualise you, graceful cherub,
your face, your eyes, your baby-bird hair,
the feeling we are made for this lifelong hold.

K. S. Moore

First published in The Lonely Crowd, 2018

Photo by Jnzl’s Photos on / CC BY

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