After Page One: Claiming Space
Literary Mama Rewind: Mothers and Art
Writing Prompt: For Your Journal
As I considered what to write for this, the final column of Four Worlds, I thought at first of stressing how bicultural marriage plus life in a third country, in an international neighborhood, sometimes seems a crazy mix. As an undergraduate I perceived the flight from America to Japan as lengthy; now, when my family travels to expat Thailand, the Pacific flight is just one leg.
In last month’s column, Cassie Premo Steele led readers into “the deeper stuff of poetry” and asked them to reflect upon the process of claiming themselves as mother poets. The outpouring of voices touched her deeply, so this month she’s sharing three of these voices with you.
When I was pregnant the second time, I eventually got too big to wear my first child in her carrier. I couldn’t carry two children at once; my heart ached over this. Afterward, I’d have a new baby to carry, a sweetness that did not diminish the grief of losing that particular aspect of my relationship with my firstborn. But reality was that having another baby made my first a “big girl.” Big girls don’t ride in carriers, anymore. I wasn’t ready to open my fist and let that go.
In this final installment of Dear Marjo, a first-time mom seeks advice on how to come to terms with her decision to have an epidural, and how to keep the critics at bay.
Ethan knew the day our moving truck was coming. Friday, September 5, exactly two weeks after his own move to Penn State. We spoke that morning around 6 a.m. He called, not to talk about the momentous fact that, in a matter of hours, his childhood home would no longer belong to us, but to gripe about having to be up so early for crew practice.
Only one wall separates us. In my Lower East Side apartment, I can hear his every move as if we are in the same room. Three taps on a table, and I know that he is packing his cigarettes. There is the clanking of silverware, the banging of drawers, the soothing rush of water shooting from the showerhead. I’m amazed at the intimacy of these noises.
I Believe in God Because of Rainbows, the poster said.
Not good enough, I thought.
It seems that as my children get older and our collective life gets busier, I do an increasingly terrible job of sustaining the holiday traditions with which I grew up.
“Remember this?” I inquire, holding up the indistinct plaything,
a dog, maybe. “You used to take this around with you everywhere
Treaded treasure palaces,
trailers pulling pleasure
You dance around,
a baby dino,
atop our furniture.
Leaning bodily on me,
to check my progress.
You have to snap off their heads
to put on their clothes
because their heads are so big.
Don’t forget how I hoarded my special blue pens,
drizzled honey on everything,
and how we read together in bed at night
As soon as I reveal its name,
he offers it to me.
Kelly Light is the illustrator of two children’s chapter books series, including The Quirks and Elvis and the Underdogs, as well as a mystery for children entitled, Who Took the Cookbook? She has drawn for Disney, Warner Brothers, and Hanna-Barbera, and is now the author and illustrator of the delightful children’s book, Louise Loves Art, published in September 2014. In a virtual conversation, interviewer Gina Consolino-Barsotti and Kelly Light conversed about the inspiration of her new character, Louise, what she requires to create, and how postpartum depression impacted her work.
The child closely monitored, probed, examined, and questioned. The stares from bystanders when the screaming begins, when the parents are unable to explain what prompted the outburst. The folders filled with medical reports. When children aren’t what we conceive of …
A 2008 study by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics found that 1 in 25 women in state prisons and 1 in 33 women in federal prisons are pregnant at the time of their admission to prison. Grim realities face …