Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
The Baby Suddenly Falls

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asleep catching everyone off guard. You give
the signal: life stops instantly, or else.
The husband is trapped in the bathroom,
no fiddling with knobs possible; at least
he can take a bath. The children stuck on
a chair on a Friday evening, ain't karma a bitch.

You have the bed to yourself, no mobile
in hand. Every move needs a carefully
devised plan. Which part of you carries
the most noise—never the heart—which
part of the bed. How heavy are your thoughts.

You slowly move one foot. The baby shifts.
You freeze. Five minutes later you move your hip.
Imagine life in outer space is watching you;
their useful conclusions. You need another twenty
minutes for a view of the familiar side of the ceiling.

Sleep, like love, never comes when you ask it to.
Your eye measures the space from wall to wall. A
bedside table—your husband's—a double bed, the cradle.
You smile. The architect knew his job. This room
was never a woman's in the first place. It was a mother's.


Irena Ioannou writes from Crete, Greece and her work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Betty Fedora, Flash: The International Short-Story Magazine, Mortar, Amsterdam Quarterly, Open Thought Vortex, MOON and S/tick. She is the GAZE columnist for The Wild Word.


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