Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Why I Didn’t Write a Poem

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Cream of tomato soup singed the sides of the double boiler. I bathed the girls,
bubble smiles on their tummies, zebra fish on the walls. I dressed them in pink pajamas.
dried their hair; it curled under dark like violet petals. I read Moo, Baa, and Laa,
Laa, Laa. One last water call. A prayer. A kiss. A favorite blankey lost, then found.
I followed crumbs down the hallway, under the table. Imagined Gretel, the witch,
her graham-cracker shingles and jelly bean path. I scrubbed the pan: its liquid sienna
mess, its sweet acidity. Lined chopsticks, knives and spoons in the washer rack.
Thanked God for gas and light when cold pushes hard on night's black sills.
I paid the bills, arranged sandwiches in boxes: triangle shapes with carrots and chips.
I phoned Kate in Orlando. She holds her baby near her black eye -- her lover leaves her
every five months. How to make it right? Come home. Come home to this place.
It's 12:27. I'm gathering batiks and teacups for tomorrow's workshop. I'm slipping
into bed. My husband turns. Groans in his sleep. I want to dream a poem.


Nancy Tupper Ling lives in Walpole, Massachusetts. She is a poet, librarian, and domestic engineer, though not necessarily in that order. In her book Laughter in My Tent: A Woman’s Search for Family, she writes of the desire for family and the eventual fulfillment of that dream. She is the 2005 Grand Prize winner of the Writer’s Digest annual competition, and she continues to do the laundry for her husband and two little girls.


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