Neverland

Lamb's Ear 2Image: “Lymph” by Trinidad Escobar, ink on building wall, 2016

Lyrics from image:

You know I used to bundle you
beneath my skin
deep within
the cage of my bones.
Now it’s only me in here
lymph and blood and
me alone.
Lamb’s Ear

Another poem for National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month as October dwindles down to its last days. The following poem was inspired by two things.

The first is a medical fact. As it turns out during pregnancy according to the Journal of the American Medical Association, women and their fetuses exchange cells, where identifiable bits and pieces of the fetus remain inside the mother for decades after a birth, abortion, and miscarriage, a phenomenon medically termed as “fetal microchimerism.” According to medical researchers, fetal cells have also been proven to rush in and repair maternal organs during sickness, fighting diseases that may afflict a woman’s body during her lifetime and even putting her immune system on alert for cancer cells.

Fetal cells, these scientific guardian angels if you will, stay within a woman’s body for a lifetime. Now it makes sense why mothers naturally have an intuition toward their children even way after they’re born. The remnants of their cells are literally running throughout their mother’s entire body for a lifetime. Not only does this happen, but subsequent pregnancies share the same fetal cells with the pregnancy that preceded them.

The second inspiration is Peter Pan. Inspired by these medical facts and predisposedly fond of children’s stories, J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan came to mind. Neverland – the home of Peter Pan and the Lost Boys – is not just a magical haven inhabited by orphaned and unwanted children, but to me, Neverland allegorically is a much larger metaphor for a woman’s body, whereas Peter Pan and the Lost Boys, who never grow up, signify the lingering fetal cells who fight off infectious diseases, just as Peter Pan fights Captain Hook and the pirates who want nothing more but to take over beautiful Neverland.

Juxtaposing the allegorical themes of Peter Pan and the medical facts about pregnancy, I created the poem, “Neverland” reflecting that no matter how a pregnancy culminates in a birth, abortion, or miscarriage, there is something wonderfully and medically beneficial about being pregnant and having been pregnant.

***

NEVERLAND

For some

it is first announced by nausea

others

unusual cravings

over there

a missed period

over here

sore breasts

and way on that side

tiny bubbles in your belly

and then maybe a muscly shell
below your belly button
protecting the microscopic life within
who waits to become 9 months later
a screaming slippery naked being
with a wide wailing mouth
clenched eyes clenched fists
demanding twenty-four hour attention
and your undying love

All this to be anticipated
from the first signs
as if the fairies should glide

across the heavens

and the mermaids should emerge

from the deep depths of the ocean

and announce with their silver trumpets
that first sign of tiny bubbles in your belly

Somehow though

for some

who

don’t have the money

others

who

can’t live with the shame

over there

who

must crouch down alone

over here

who

don’t want children at all

and way on that side

where

the bubbles just disappear on their own

there’s an abrupt end
shedding only echoes and shadows of the being who once was
never to grow up screaming
but left now as a Peter Pan
and roam from the womb and
eternally play within the kingdom of Neverland
and magically frolic within the contours of your body

the canals of your veins and arteries
the lagoon of your belly
the buried treasures of your mind
the warm chambers of your heart
the caves of your lungs
the tree trunk of your spine
the branches of your ribs

These lingering cells, these Lost Boys and
Tinker Bell and Tiger Lily and Queen Mab
fight off parasitical pirates
and contagious Captain Hooks
so even after many many many years have gone by
Peter Pan momentarily meets your future children
like Wendy, John, and Michael
making them laugh below your belly button
so you remember the tiny bubbles
forever deep within Neverland

never to age
never to grow up

within You

FD Bedford - Peter Pan 570 KB
Image: “The Never Never Land” by F.D. Bedford, 1911, from the first edition of Peter Pan

2 thoughts on “Neverland

  1. Beautiful, Elsa!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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