Poetry by Sara | Umbilical Cords


In which Sara uses poetry to undo stereotypes that run through our society — raw, naked and unabashedly so.


For mine was attached to yours, 

I will love you forever.


History arrived yesterday with a letter addressed to me. 

She said there were words I’d forgotten

And there were poems 

Written on my girdle

That I couldn’t read. 


That chaos, you’ve inherited from my blood. 

I’ve covered you in courage 

And breathed the impossibilities into you.


So we sat down 

Under a tree in my backyard. 


For mine was attached to yours, 

I will love you forever.  


When you want to squirm and die, 

And your voice seems too faint. 

Honey, remember your umbilical cords. 


The doctors label the arteries and veins

They forget to tell you, 

I adorned your sack with roses, 

And I held you, with every rebel syllable 

They denied my voice box. 


You’ve read the scars on my placenta. 

I was thirteen, when red became a horror.

And seventeen when silence was my sole companion.


You’ve slept to the stories of my amniotic fluid.


When I realised how my brain and heart had lost touch

The curves on my body

Like a road along a hilly bend

Constructed, defined.

Not by me. 


The linings have sung the rhymes to you. 

Chubby Cheeks, Dimple Chin

Rosy Lips, Teeth Within

Curly Hair, Very Fair.


Your spine

I’ve built with courage.

There are stories you’ve to endure.


Your heart, honey. 

I’ve made it fragile

So that you remember to love

Love that it aches. 


And your voice. 

Remember how loud I’ve desired it to be. 


Let history know

A new rhyme, that echoes across the mountains. 

So that when it arrives at your daughter’s door

The only poem her girdle reads 


For mine was attached to yours, 

I will love you forever.


Sara Sethia is Senior Program Officer, Art Initiatives at One Future Collective.

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