It’s the wagon that the women ride, always on the left, / and it moves in a cycle that has no end, one turn of / the wheel bleeding into the next until the axle rusts. / Even then, we persist, desperate to fix the hum in / our home that has broken, hearing beside us the drone of / all those other lives that have ridden into the sunlight despite the odds.
Nicole S. Piasecki
Keep cold the loaded syringe / family gun in white box / near egg white cartons / stamped carton contents set to expire…
The house empties, / its lungs heave, / air seeps from spaces we were supposed to fill. / This unfolding of an absence, / slow in the way morning slips / through the skylight, cradles my body.
A baby blackbird hops madly at the base of an oak / unable to get lift. It lurches from tree to tree, / desperately.
I go / often in my dreams / to be cradled, rocked by the wind / whipping into the pines / filtering itself through the soft, green / needles. The sun here is welcoming / but never warm.
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.
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.