On New Year’s Day we climb Thorpe Cloud.
You say you can feel your heart beep
in your hands—pulsing in your gloves.
I remember dread that first formed—
cast from thread of piss on a stick.
After twelve tense weeks—with a wand
they divined your heartbeat from my
belly—not a beep—a deep thump.
I watched in case their faces betrayed
things I didn’t want said and dreamed
your shape from clouds on a black screen.
At this point: where sky, moor, mountain, meet
and merge in January light. You are pitched—
your nose and cheeks pinked.
People say I formed
by a cutting from my dad
and I imagine my foetal self uncurl
from the yellowing curve
of a nail clipping.
My curfews were pointless; dad could hardly
call time from his night shift and mum
temazepammed herself at ten—
I could have knocked
on my bed, descended secret
stairs, rowed over a lake and danced
with twelve princes until 3 a.m.
only my worn-out shoes
would have given me away. Even birds
can count their eggs—
her eyes slid over me.
No mother gave me birth.
Aeschylus, The Eumenides, lines 748-753
With the incorporation/swallowing of the pregnant mother, Zeus not only achieves the
appropriation of the female reproductive capacity together with the wisdom of Metis but
effectively swallows and obliterates the mother-daughter relation.
On Matricide: Myth, Psychoanalysis and the Law of the Mother