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Ships

Alice Major
From:   Corona Radiata. Toronto: St. Thomas Press, 2000.


"Ex Ova Omnia"
—frontispiece to William Harvey's book on embryology, 1651



Ova mundi, world of an egg, radiant pearl launched on the engulfing stream
towards the womb. She is skirted
in embroidered net, virgin queen for whom

her courtiers lay down their cloaks.
She is a globe of filigree, a wonder.

The mouth of the river swells to the sea.
The attendant jostle of small boats

gives way before the barque. Signals ripple out
a silent semaphore. Cells begin

their courtly, kaleidoscope pavane —
divide like sails unfolding in the wind.

_________
Note: the corona radiata is a web of cells that arrange themselves around the egg cell after it is released from the ovary. Sperm cells must shed their outer coats to penetrate it.


Alice Major's works copyright © to the author.


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