Mother Earth Cut and Flayed

This poem was inspired by Christine Laffer’s bas relief tapestry “Signs of a Shift”. It is a gorgeous bas relief tapestry woven in colours of fertile earthand sea in the shape of a woman’s body from the neck down. What really struck me was that the tapestry woman was without a head. She was just a body without a mind or a voice. Even though she was just a form made from wool, silk and linen I felt an emphatic connection to her; I had to speak for her and for all of us.

This image shows two hands sewing a piece of white fabric.
Image by Kristine Mar

She wove Mother Earth from silk and linen and then set her on fire.

Her legs are ablaze. Her toes press into molten mud. The ripe orchard of her thighs burns as the flames
climb her hips like the threat of a shroud.

When the flames threaten to burn away the fertile oceans of her stomach, a river of green life rushes up through the grottos of her rib cage, across the valley of her sternum to pool in the dells of her clavicle.

We were all cut and flayed and hung on a wall.

The threads stop at her shoulders. She has no eyes to see, lips to speak or throat to breathe. She has no humanity; just a fertile body on fire.

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