- To Name Is to Own
It is permissible to name things discovered by me,thus it shall be: the love or sweetness of Venus.anatomist matteo renaldo colombo(upon discovering the clitoris)
But what of the days before brave Colombo, before he rambled off solo, wanderlustedover mounds soft as moss? Did Venus even see it, this genuslessfish, spume-slick from the foam she rode in on?
Button or pearl, nubbin or bean. Sudden anemone, bud of the sea. Goblin or nut, chickpeaor seed—in Germany, it’s called kitzler, which translates to “tickler.” Yet cuter still,the Greek diminutive, keitys: a derivative
of “miniature hill.” Slug or bulb, little chub or diddler. The clitoris existsin ostriches, it stretches eight inches, and kangaroos: they have two. Acorn or worm,grundle horn or twaddler—a half-nibbled plum,
left in sun and brine wind. Munchlet or glan, hood-monk or scrunchling—a caboodleof nerves—8,000 receptors plumping. The organ may be, to many, quite foreign. Or something kept,a treacherous pet, approached with shameful watchfulness. [End Page 97]
Owned but ignored, possessed yet dismissed— what would Venus think of this? Maybe she’d rather nothave washed up, bashful on a half-shell, opted instead to stay at sea. To cache awayher curled snail, crimped as kelp in its tide bed. [End Page 98]
Erika Brumett ’s words appear in numerous publications, including the North American Review, PageBoy Magazine, and the Los Angeles Review. Her novel, Scrap Metal Sky, was published last year by Shape & Nature Press.