Matrilineage [umbilicus]

                                      the first inheritance      a puncture wound:

                                where you detach from      your mother

                                              an undug grave      call it provenance

                               In one language named       life source      هوى

                            eve. the period preceding      some say wife/mother of [  ]

                                        but origin can’t be        tethered to consequence

                                                        an oculus       doomed to gape before a mirror

                                 my abdomen rounded        a line appeared

                                          from navel to sex        linea nigra

                                        text appeared      ا         the first letter

                                                              abjad         inferred,      ا

                                                    mammalian       I, matriline

                                        I did not want this        look how

                                                     it appeared       I multiplied

                                                  from figment       I bore

                                                            witness:      your body

From THEOPHANIES (Alice James Books, 2024). Copyright © 2023 by Sarah Ghazal Ali. Used with the permission of the publisher. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on October 27, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets