In the dry season, drops drift down / every afternoon. / In the wet season, water pours from the sky / all day and all night / for weeks. // Or so my mother tells me.
Mary Beth Hines
Mother razes and wipes, razes and wipes, / While the old oak groans beneath her fingers, // Lodging a thin splinter into her palm when, / Ungloved, she smoothes a cross-grained edge.
Every year standing in the pink papered aisle, / pulling out card after flowery card / scripted sentiments such as You were always there / for me and I am so lucky / to have you for a best friend. / Each one goes back, cardstock dropped / with a smack against plastic casing.
a worn woman stands in my mirror / half-cocked smile working its way to the corners / my mother deserves a joyful daughter / my mother, the one in the mechanical bed / I remember a version of me / standing tall with my broad frame and big hands / (gifts from my dad) / ready to take on life’s traveling circus…
Cathy Ann Kodra
When I lean into my mother’s soft wool coat, / its closeted shape a new loneliness—she, no longer // seeking shelter from any cool draft—I breathe in / the lingering sense of time, of her hair, of Chanel No. 5.
I decry the manner in which my world / was ransacked after dark, / by you, ghostly marauder / (bearded with ash, shrugging / shoulders of mould, eyes / gleaming deadwood) // You scuttled roughshod, / cunning as rust, combing the fields / for my daughter until— / wife procured—you plummeted / to your replica earth. And she, / like a pearl impaled / on a hook.
My son held a bird / today on a class trip to the nature center. / At home, with an empty hand, he demonstrates / how to hold a bird using just three fingers / so as not to hurt the bird and / so it can’t hurt itself with its flapping.
Every week at birth class it’s the same / story the same flooding as we watch / a grainy movie of our long-awaited journey— / darkened sanctum heave and sweat / naked woman half-reclining / midwives kneeling rubbing soothing
We relocated the plants today– / disrupted whole ecosystems / unseen to our eyes. / We had to make room / for the new extension. / The gardener said / the plants might not take root / in their new soil– / but we had to take a chance.
I carried my four-month-old / through my father’s field / along sunny mud walls. / At first I pointed, / saying the names of things– / bee, red willow, crab apple– / then I thought, what’s the hurry / in naming the world?
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.