“Earth’s Lullaby, or To the Child Now Grown” by Kathleen McCoy
Before the wooly mammoth pounded here,
before the wings of pterosaurs cleaved this brittle sky
and pieces shattered, when
greened the earth and bobbins of purple and gold
bejeweled the grass, I saw you. I dreamed you,
you danced behind your daddy’s eyes,
and as the mammoth
crashed and the ground glazed over with ices, I
breathed deeply and the earth glowed red-
warm and clawing, raw and
regular, and you
who were not yet born, not yet free to feel
the weight of spirit encased in tingling and hunger,
nodded, pounded, insisted
it was your turn
to ride the plains and till the soil and mine glimmer
from the planet, to skin hides and chew on flesh
and litter fields with rot and bones
and so, because
I knew you to belong where you longed to be, because
I knew your stink and laughter before you did, I
breathed, oh, deeply, from
the ribs inside which
your earth is turning, I breathed you, and the pain
of it, the joy of birthing of generation after generation
has made you no less than it made me.
at your will. I reappear at a whisper of your
thought. See the hole in the center of your belly.
you will go—I see the worlds beyond your world
for you have worlds inside your ribs as well. Breathe.
Just breathe, my blue beauty. Your breathing
turns the world.
Kathleen McCoy’s Artist Statement: I consider myself a poet, playwright, professor, mentor, creative, traveler, and leader. I’m also a mom, wife, twin sister, daughter, aunt, great aunt, deacon, singer, crafter, and speaker. I work with university women and students from all walks of life on nurturing their creative writing, valuing themselves and each other, and seeking enrichment through diversity, literacy, and the sacred.