The mystery of earth’s interior – a poem by Misha Lazzara

The mystery of earth’s interior 
Some months pass in sweatpants before
I subscribe to the public broadcasting system’s 
documentary access. Because there’s a whole world
in here, and nowhere to go out there. I do recall being taught
—taught that the mystery of the planets 
and the history of the gods are a conflated heap—you know,
Venus with her pouty lips and curved hips. 
There used to be a god for every day of the week. Thunder, 
sex, chaos, real estate, the dead. Oh, lord, then the Christians
whittled it down to one. A bore. So, Bragi, god of poetry,
a tattooed tongue and supple wife with a plot in Asgard
near the rainbow bridge, both murdered
by missionaries. They killed all my favorite gods
I guess—Frigg, Freyja, Jörð. Childbirth, beauty, 
the earth itself. All except Thor, alive and well,
revived by an Australian movie star.
As a child I am told I am formed in Christ’s image. A body 
on a cross on a hillside. Stigmata—our youth group’s 
collective wet dream. Some sickness carries on
through adulthood when I am constantly reminded that
sacrifice is holy, and then grow, alarmingly, into a woman 
whose body is as crevassed as Calgary. 
In motherhood I witness where life comes from. I see
with my own eyes the bloodied orb—ball of my belly—
form a generation. Oblate ellipsoid, sloshing with iron. 
Even our smartest scientists don’t understand 
the pregnant core of our planet’s center. Only 
that it perpetuates life, somehow, in all its heaviness.
Maybe there is one god, after all. Do we even know
how those first people worshiped, ritualized creation? Who 
are the gods those women cried to during childbirth? Before 
Bragi before molecular baptisms before—when 
it was just feet on the earth, blood-soaked lightning bolts,
tectonic contractions, 
placental quakes,
gravity in her core. 

Misha Lazzara is an MFA candidate at North Carolina State University. Her work has appeared in Entropy Mag, frak/ture journal and more. Winner of the Academy of American Poets University Prize 2020 at NCSU.

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