when a female snake
conceives without male contact.

Most articles also give the definition
(virgin birth, in Latin)
since it’s such a heavy word.

Still, not even
all those stolid syllables

or the beat it takes my brain
to match them to their meaning

can keep away the dizziness
that hits me as I’m trying
to hold it in my mind:

      how she swelled past
      any logic we’d prescribe,
      speaking life into herself,

      body fluent in a language
      none of us can know.