Ever since I was born an enormous bulls head rages
in my mother’s belly. It’s on a rampage in her empty womb
creating scars in the fallow mother. Sometimes
she doesn’t quite recognise me, which is troubling
because at one time I fitted inside her perfectly. Luckily,
according to the astronomical constellation of Cancer
I’m pleasure seeking, reliable and creative. She finds this consoling,
an article of faith connecting amniotic fluid to the universe.
Whenever we had chicory baked with gammon, I’d get the crust of cheese.
All of it. Because I’d asked for it.
The love I know is dished up from a casserole,
the two extra helpings on a full plate
that second biscuit hidden in the yellow pud.
This is a typical feature of motherly conduct:
‘Stuffing ones young’.
In exchange for the void I left in her, she wanted me full and round.
Then came the morning I announced the arrival of two small breasts.
The news broke her spirit for days.
Eventually she handed me a bra,
emblazoned with Hello Kitty.
Deep inside her belly raged the snorting bulls head.
A void is emptiness only when nothing else will fit.
Gradually we fossilised into two separate creatures.
We can no longer tell
who became the insect and who
turned into amber.
Translated from Dutch by Michele Hutchinson