The Personal is Confessional by Metta Sáma

& so what.

This is personal. In 1993 and again in 1994 I was pregnant. By two different guys. One was my guy (’93) and one belonged to someone else (’94). Before I knew I was pregnant – pregnancy one and pregnancy two – my parents knew. My dad dreamt about fish and my mother looked into my face. By pregnancy two it didn’t affect me, that someone could dream my pregnancy into reality (not existence, just into the speakable & spoken word), that someone could look into my face and see a pregnancy. Pregnancy 1, however. . .

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A friend who had been pregnant and had a child said of her pregnancy that her body became a publicly consumable object. An object. For consumption. Of consumption. A free-to-consume body. Think of all of the times your own hands have reached towards a pregnant woman’s stomach. Without her permission. How many times your mouths opened to form the obvious pronouncement: you’re pregnant. How many times your eyes rested on a pregnant woman’s stomach and had thoughts travel from your brain to the woman’s body? How many of those pregnant women were strangers?

Pregnancy 1: my mother said to me: you need to go ahead and tell us. What could I tell them that I didn’t know? She said: your father has been waiting for you to tell him. She said: he thinks you’re trying to hide it. She said: your father’s been dreaming of fish again. And this is how I discovered my own pregnancy. My father dreamt of fish. My mother looked into my face. Who else could see it? Who else had seen it? How long did I have before the side-eying strangers would see it? Before the baby bump? That little bump that gives permission to say it, to see, it to touch it.

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When l think of the monster Argus, I think of the man, the young man, the teenager, the adolescent, the child, the toddler, the infant, the fetus, Argus. How easily my eyes travel to the interior. The uterus that provided shelter for the fetus. All of the eyes forming inside of the body. The eyes outside of the body. The fetus’s eyes. The community’s eyes. The storm of eyes. The congress of eyes. The rumor of eyes. The gaggle of eyes. The murder of eyes. Mine. Theirs. His. Yours. What is it like to be the pregnant woman? The body of consumption. For consumption. The freeto-consume body. The woman who is hyper woman. The woman who is no longer woman. Who is object. Objectified. Pedestaled. Whose pedestal is burnt while she teeters on it. The pregnant woman who is made Mother before she becomes a mother. The pregnant woman who is judged, castigated, brandished, branded before she becomes a mother.

What is the story of Eve before Cain and Abel? The story of a fallen woman. What is the story of Eve before The Fall? The story of a rib. Who was Mary before her body was burdened with the body of Christ. No imagined being. Who was Mycene before the monster Argus was slain? No imagined being.

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What a tragedy. To bear the body of a child whose 100 eyes will be the death of him. Whose 100 eyes will watch her imagine her construct, her deconstruct, her reconstruct, her deconstruct. Whose 100 eyes will overshadow the woman who bore him. The woman who was no one until after the making of the monster. Life in reverse.

My eyes, your eyes, the community’s eyes, the fetus’s eyes, the writer’s eyes.

Here is a different title to this piece:  To Dream Mycene I Became Mycene.


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Metta Sáma is author of Nocturne Trio (YesYes Bøøks2012) and South of Here (New Issues Press 2005 (published under her legal name, Lydia Melvin)). Her poems, fiction, creative non-fiction, & book reviews have been published or forthcoming in Blackbird, bluestem,Bone Boquet, Drunken Boat, The Drunken Boat, entropy, Esque, hercricle, Jubilat, Kweli, The Owls, Pebble Lake Review, Pyrta, Reverie, Sententia, Transitions among others. le animal & other strange creatures will appear from Miel Books later this year. Sáma is Assistant Professor & Director of Creative Writing and Director of the Center for Women Writers at Salem College.


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