'Hypogeum of Hal Saflieni, Malta' by Annamaria Weldon | States of Poetry WA - Series Two

I went where she reigned
far underground, deeper
than roots, in rooms hollowed
by hand and bone, where curved walls
contained my breath like lungs.

              Passageways opened onto chambers
              honeycombed in stone
              where there was no light
              and blind air read my skin.

Who painted the womb-shaped
echo-chamber with ochre veins?
The spirals on concave walls seem
to move with sound waves, fluid
as amniotic water, persistent as blood.

               So far down, this far back, definition
               fades. We braille a truth, one version
               from things only guessed at.

In bone-dug bethels where perhaps
they incubated dreams, a woman
sleeps. In my palm, earth to earth
I hold her double: a small, clay statue,

                rotund buttocks, fall of ample breasts
                all luxuriant volume, prompting again
                the old question: is she diviner or divine?

Annamaria Weldon