Kathryn Cowles

The idea is Russian nesting dolls
only pregnant, great pregnant bellies
locking into one another
a great split at the waistline of each
a great opening out.
Let’s say the outermost doll is a polygamist wife
because looking at a polygamist wife
is like looking forward and backward at once
like standing between two mirrors.
The polygamist wife suggests a line
of infinitely pregnant women
spanning in multiple directions around her.
The polygamist wife is a great great great great
grandmother of mine. And inside her shell
another pregnant woman. Inside her another and
another and my grandmother and my mother
with her hard-faced kind of love and
inside her is a doll of me, pregnant belly locked
in place. Split in advance, halved, thinly wooden
and covered with egg tempera and thick lacquer.              
And inside my belly is a baby.




I keep making these art pieces and then writing poems about them. I keep saying I keep making these art pieces. // The part about the great great great great grandmother is true. The other parts are true, but that part is really true.