What if this soft, slippery round of belly
could contain laughter so free 
it travels to your eyes as tears
to the tips of your toes.
What if this belly 
could grow people
not just one 
but two whole people
with fingers stretching to the infinite world
eyes waking to the dream all around them. 
What if this belly 
loved a meal with friends 
over a long table of conversation
licking the marrow of life from your fingertips.
What if this belly 
was where you buried your sorrows
nestled into disappointment
shame and fear.
What if this belly 
resisted expectation
like the time you refused 
to stand 
and pledge allegiance.
What if this belly 
could heal 
from all that you swallowed
that never sat well.
What if this belly 
could be the seat 
of all you know to be true
all you hold close 
with the wild rush of loyalty 
and love.
Would that be so bad?

Photo by Ihor Malytskyi on Unsplash

Nicole Desjardins Gowdy

Nicole Desjardins Gowdy is a writer living in the foothills outside Los Angeles. By day, she works in international education. She has a BA in English (Creative Writing emphasis) and Communication Arts from the University of Wisconsin - Madison and an MA in International Education from SIT Graduate Institute. As an undergraduate, she published a short story in Canvas and won a University Book Store Award for Academic Excellence for her Creative Writing thesis, a collection of short stories.