Of course it could be a butterfly. A jesus face. Two eels. I might also have guessed geese. But then, of course, there they are. Twin fetuses.
Personally I’ve always found fetuses existentially threatening. Go find a medical textbook. It’s a little creepy. Mostly how amorphous they are. That whole bit about ontogeny and phylogeny, too. The entire process of creation, actually, kind of freaks me out. Which must say something about me and my relationship to the maternal experience more generally speaking, some kind of psychoanalytic castration no doubt, but who knows. Not me.
Natasha’s poem only compounds the problem. We already have enough trouble dealing with real babies. But what do you do when they’re ink blots?
It’s funny the first couple of times. These darling fat accidents. Chubby half moons. Soft bellies. Perfect kidney beans. It’s fun. Carnivalesque. I’d even call it cute.
Lately though, as I read more into it, I actually find it quite disturbing. All these subtexts. Potential allegories. Why don’t we just recycle them in big blue bins? What is a child but an ink blot, anyway? Clearly we’re too prudish to go into it here, but think of all the ways.
Yet even if one is too hesitant to plumb the depths of one’s own psyche–contented, instead, with its rippling surface–Natasha’s poem delights. Look how strong the narrative is, how grounded, how it carries the piece; notice the softer assonance, the echoes, the subtler qualities of language that exemplify good prose poetry; the imaginative sensitivity that allows her to catch a moment like this and, more importantly, her willingness and determination to see the piece through. It’s one thing to play with a poem, of course, but it’s another to take the poem seriously, to allow oneself to be played with, to become almost hysterical, to be carried away. And that, I think, requires a certain amount of skill and bravery.
(We also thought it was an awesome title.)
Personally we’ll never look at ink blots the same way again.
To read In Poem Class I Learn Ink Blots Really Work Because We Make Them With Our Own Hands, click here.
To order Four Chambers 01, click here.