Ode to the Areola

March 22, 2020

Dark pigmented nebula
deepening around the nipple
after childbirth, purple
haze surrounding
the storm’s eye

not to be confused with
aureole — that crown of light
radiating from saints’ heads
in certain medieval paintings
from the Latin aureolas
derived from aurum
meaning, ‘gold’

which is also the root for oriole —
those amber-plumed passerines
flashing against late July’s foliage
aging from Kool-Aid lime
to hunter green. Until recently

I thought areola descended
from the same root as orioles
and saints’ crowns. But in fact
it derives from the Latin word
for ‘open place’— which might
connote to a sun-filled plaza
somewhere in Tuscany

and not a chocolate cloud
capping the snowy flesh
my newborn rooted for at dawn
his mouth a withered rose
his head a halo of light.

Angela Narciso Torres