from the Latin circa dies, "about one day"

Who knows what celestial body crossed the heavens that October,
what sun or moon, what Venus trailing its pagan star
across the southern sky began the ticking?
It was a harvest festival, and that goddess of love staked her claim
across night’s cosmos, a five-petal rose.
I only knew there were children everywhere I couldn’t ignore.
At the dairy farm in Hickory Flat, we passed gardens
of mallow and cinquefoil, pinecones and Indian corn
beyond the barn filled with dairy cows chewing on turnips,
citrus pulp, molasses, hominy. My niece and nephew trailed ahead
to the truck towing hay bails for visitors to ride.
We collected cotton in small linen bags,
learned about boll weevil traps
and the gin that eased each reaping.
My husband walked beside me,
each of his steps reminding me of the parts
of his body I wanted to make and remake.
Watching children in their Halloween costumes
dance around the corn maze, I imagined the arc of his jaw,
his good hands, his twilight eyes on our someday babies,
thought of names we might use to call our sons in for supper,
and the making to be done first.
But how predictable my body had become,
how like a clock my own hand on my stomach,
spinning the ache into quiet motion,
bending to lunar cycles and circadian rhythms.
The same cadence of light that tells me to wake and sleep
or fill with hunger tells birds to migrate and flowers to bloom.
We saw peanuts that grew in darkness for five months
pulled from dirt, neat rows of cabbage leaves and pumpkin vines,
sweet Vidalia onions that multiply underground.
Some pendulum swung to life, and Venus sang her arrival.
I did not need sun or water or candles,
an obelisk or tuning fork, sand or quartz
to tell me the time had come for making.
When we passed the patch for sweet potatoes,
my nephew tugged his mother’s sleeve, smiled,
said It looks like a baby coming out of the ground.

First published in If Not an Apple
Copyright © 2006, Katie Fesuk

IC 1848: The Embryo Nebula

Image Credit: jimkster, some rights reserved

Katie Fesuk was a 2006 Georgia Author of the Year Award nominee for her chapbook, If Not an Apple (La Vita Poetica Press). She is a teacher and Poet in Residence at The Walker School, and she studied English and Creative Writing in the doctoral program at Georgia State University. She served as Creative Writer in Residence at the Kennesaw Mountain Writing Project, and her poems can be found in Five Points, Slant, Bloodroot, Poet Lore, Chattahoochee Review, and Water~Stone, among others.