© 2024 KALW 91.7 FM Bay Area
KALW Public Media / 91.7 FM Bay Area
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

'Umbilical' by poet Lucian Mattison

Lucian Mattison is a U.S.-Argentinian Poet and translator living in Oakland. His poem "Umbilical" can be found in his 3rd full length collection of poetry "Curare."


All wilderness

arrives unwieldy,

a fish beaten

against rock. What’s left

is nothing

more than a form

of beauty, acceptance

of discomfort

in human


electrical desert,

ablutions, and barcodes—

nature no longer

completely nature.

Returning is never so

simple as winding

the umbilical

like a garden hose.

Will ages and age

is willing to concede

to this motion.

Teeth sinking

into the belly

of a smaller creature,

I’ll never accept or forget

my life is only evidence

of one larger wade

of mother

out into the world—

the instant I break

skin, a dolphin fin

appears, glides

a shallow arc on the edge

of her consciousness.