As an adoptee who never met her mother, it may be easier for me to imagine my conception than it is for others — because I have no predetermined story to go on.
But imagining conception of any kind can be a fertile beginning (pun intended) for a poem. Think, for example, of the poems that imagine the conception of the world, or of a piece of fabulous music, or a metaphorical conception, even poems that imagine the beginning of other poems.
Beginnings are powerful, whether they are the beginning of the day or the beginning of night, the beginning of a marriage, or the beginning of old age. But imagining the beginning of something you know well is, perhaps, even more powerful. Imagining such a beginning makes you the co-creator of the something.
The poem below was originally published in Paper Nautilus.
Perfection is what we have to deal with
I see them coming together beside the palmetto thicket at the river,
my father hurrying from the sugar refinery, and my mother
from anywhere but school, tripping over Virginia creeper,
but keeping to the path, knowing what she wants,
although her word for it — love — won’t come close
to describing the brambles setting barbs on her shins,
her caught breath, her matted hair, the sweat between their skins,
the moss that chokes her when he turns away,
the brief secret of her belly swelling,
the not again, for heaven’s sakes hissing of teachers and neighbors,
her move to a distant cousin’s home where the taste
of sweet tea turns bitter on her tongue, or how she pushes me
out of her body with all her tiny might, right into this world
of loss, this universe of no mistakes.