Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
To the Baby Upstairs

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Even through the summer thunderstorms,
I hear your cry through the walls, the floors,
the open windows.

I hear the strength you are gaining,
and the sense
of who you are and what you want.

And when you want it,
your mother is not the only one who strains
to interpret your cries; I

rise in the night and know
you are hungry
or your tummy hurts

or you, like me, just can't sleep
without being close to someone who loves you.
Ten years from now

I will wonder where you are
and imagine your squinty smile
when you pull a jug of milk from the fridge

and pour a glass yourself,
or learn to navigate a turn
on your new bike, things

I am almost sure you will one day do,
but can never really know
the way I am certain you are happy this quiet minute,

little boy whose name I never knew.


Suzannah Gilman is the mother of three sons, ages 18, 17, and 16, and a daughter, age 12. She has published poetry, essays, fiction, and nonfiction, most recently in CALYX, A Journal of Art and Literature by Women and the forthcoming anthology Family Matters: Poems of our Families. When her last child started kindergarten, Suzannah went to college and earned a B.A. in English with a minor in writing, and then a law degree. She is now an attorney.


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