Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
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     (for Keely and Asher)

The diabetic blood of my daughter glides softly
between my fingers; nine months have passed
and the scars of small needles have begun to track
in the shape of a star against her skin,
on this night of clear skies and aurora borealis.

Across the room, her warrior twin, dark horse
to her Celtic blonde beauty, sleeps.
Three years since you shared uneasy space
in my belly, and still
you bring me hope in home and hearth and
a heart that beats against all scientific odds.
We have seen too much death --
the spirit of my grandmother ill-tamped by an unburied urn,
the ashes of my failed marriage, and
in between I dream of monuments and stone rocking horses,
an attic of child's names carved into granite.

You were newly born, held fast by prayers
of the vigilant, and in your hospital beds,
not knowing what else to do --
I counted each breath, ten toes, ten fingers,
thin strands of hair.

There is little more I can save you from.


Victoria Vernell is the 34-year-old mother of three children: a son who recently turned 8 and boy/girl twins who are now 3 years old. She lives in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, where she works in Human Resources for a federal government department. She began publishing poetry as a teenager, with her first poem in print appearing in Tidepool (Hamilton, Ontario) in 1990. Victoria is currently on the editorial board for Bywords.ca and Bywords Quarterly Journal and is looking forward to publishing her first collection of poetry.


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