If they eat your heart for breakfast, warm / with a heaping scoop of brown sugar. / If mouths full of too-big teeth jut // at cranky angles. If backpack bananas / mold, green furring overdue books. If / nails clipped on blue sofa // bite, pricking crescents, / tiny teeth in navy sea. If clothes shed like snakeskin / —morning, night—skins, // floors littered with skins.
I named you because I had to, my bright incantation, / because I was told all wild, gleaming, / snapping things were meant to be catalogued / and called like chants, like whispered omens, like spells. / This is how wild things are tamed, how rare things / are treasured. So I named you, / but I couldn’t call you what I wanted …
It doesn’t know we brought it home / when the kids could only pedal, / or that they drive their own cars now. / Nothing in its belts or pistons / gives it power to recall / the sleepover birthday guests in / its bouncing backseat, / or the giggles about the boy in class / and his field-trip heels-dug-in panicking protests / as they “forced” him onto a screaming rollercoaster.
‘Oh no,’ says the obstetrician, cutting the cord. ‘Right now, she’s just a clause.’ / ‘Dependent,’ I say. / ‘Relative,’ says the nurse, putting my daughter my daughter my daughter into my arms. ‘She will modify you.’
late summer in the city / the block is hot / and fires are everywhere. // a possum has chewed the head / off one of our hens, sitting / on her newly hatched chicks. // it was us who did not / lock the door / who let the danger in. // stay in your homes / blares a police helicopter circling / circling overhead.
He’s the one rocking you, / there in the corner. / I hear him as I approach, / his voice soft and quiet, / humming melodies of services / written by ancestors in centuries past. // The only words that come easily / in a place like this are words / in a language you hardly know…
Diana Michelle Love
Five a.m. is my father’s time / then and now / his and mine / when the world sleeps / and we, respectful caretakers of the dawn / cradle cold glasses / and speak in low voices / we fill ourselves with conversation / against the coming day / because we will not meet like this again…
My three-year-old is rocking back and forth on a plastic pony while I supervise my one-year-old in the Tot Spot, whose high point is a single structure with one stair on each side that my daughter climbs again and again and again.
Mary Ellen Talley
This techie dad / at his monster green recycling bin, / stuffs folded cardboard / from baby swing, / double stroller, / newborn diaper packaging, / says clinic cushioned seats / had been soft / and there was music wafting / at no more cost / than if the procedure had been done day one.
Rebecca Hart Olander
Find alternate routes / as if there is another path through this thicket, / as if we are sleeping beauties / and can be kissed out of our darkness, / as if we can cut away kudzu / and it will stop letting down its insidious hair…
We publish poetry that has some element of the unexpected–whether it’s the language, the imagery, or the emotion—yet feels honest. Do you have a poem that acknowledges the intensity of motherhood? Read more about submitting your work here.