Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood

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Your daddy cried first
with the sound pain makes--
when it's wrapped up tight, tight
as empty, and it still leaks out
in gasps and wheezes,
with a little choking
and the shaking.

I sat, knew you would be back
in a few minutes,
maybe a day--for good
but, nonetheless, you'd come
crawling back, say "Oops!
I forgot something," something
like "I love you, and I want to stay
here until I have to leave, until
you push
me out.
Sorry Daddy,
for making you cry."

Your daddy and I
walked through your bedroom,
fingered spaces, spaces
where this used to sit, and that sat
for so long. I turned my back
when he pulled out a drawer.
I didn't want to see
the bottom, all four
corners, neatly bare.

Your daddy played with your toys--toys
you left--folded each piece
of trash before he threw it away.

Your daddy's shoulders curved,
bowed like a lily in a vase
after the water drops below
the descending axis of life. Life--
odd how it descends and not ascends;
we grow up not down,
and others droop;
their shoulders curve.

You wanted to be called "Scott,"
and we shrank
three or four inches,
looked up to you.
I said, "Take off
those shoes right now."
You said, "I'm not
wearing any."

We have unfinished
business to take care of.
We need to go
fishing one more time, stand
on the rocks at the water's
edge and pick mud
out of our fingernails,
worms off our hands,
say nothing,
catch nothing,
call it a day--
a good day--
'cause the shade was cool
and the water as still
as your room now.
The only movement
is my lips as I
flex them
over valleys where words
should be; the only word
I can say
is, "Scottie."

Trish Lindsey Jaggers’ poems appear or are forthcoming in Clackamas Literary Review, Red Rock Review, Earth’s Daughters, WordWrights! Magazine, The Tobacco Anthology, Zephyrus, Red River Review, and in the books Blue Moon Rising: Kentucky Women in Transition, edited by Jennie L. Brown (Turner Publishing, 2001), and Writing Who We Are: Poems by Kentucky Feminists by Elizabeth Oakes and Jane Olmsted (WKU, 1999). She was an editor for Zephyrus, Western Kentucky University’s annual literary publication, for three years. She recently won the WKU Jim Wayne Miller Poetry Award for 2002. She belongs to the International Women’s Writing Guild. Currently, she assists the director of the Women’s Studies Program at Western Kentucky University. She’s married with two children — a son, Scott and a daughter, Bridgette.

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