femininity cinching the hips

woven wide wrapping our waists round and round

thick-weave wool

red, green and black, braided

Grandma said if you can breathe, it’s not tight enough

for want of child birthing curves

to flare and baby feeding breasts to billow

it strengthens our spines, building backs against weak eyes

We wear them to dance, to give cornmeal, to learn our songs, name newborns, to deliver food to

the dead. Nine babies later, his grandmother still spun the same belt over her lap. I’ve only

birthed three, what excuse does my abdomen flex against her or my woven core?

for the babies they are simple, twisted red and black yarn

twined by little fingers for fresh ribcages

four days old, my daughter’s

center was tied and balanced

we are born belted to our mothers cinched

by weavers

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