Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood

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South of the Himalayas, south
of the great deserts, agile chimp
swings on branches
                              of convoluted trees
and snake plants. Little chimp
sleeps in her, locked in place
by the firm grip of opposable
thumbs and big toes, anchored
in night,
               in moon. The baby chimp listens
to the mother singing and sings,
weeping and weeps into the space
between her breasts. Bowstrings of hemp,
sweet myrrh.


My mother walks me around
and around her garden. It is
a blooming oval of lilacs, feathery
and light, and there are mums,
black-eyed Susans, peonies and snapdragons.
In the noon sun she catches
my hand, pulling me closer
to their velvet, their color, their heat.
When I close my eyes and breathe
them in, I lose her.
                                                       She is gone

and she is everywhere singing, weeping:
Her voice is like the dust here.


I said, I miss her this
She was the light
coming into my room.

Mary Sullivan is the novelist of Stay, which won a Rona Jaffe Foundation Award and a St. Botolphs Literary Award, and Ship Sooner, which won a Massachusetts Cultural Council Award and was nominated as a Borders Original Voices Pick. She has published prose and poems in Agni, Sojourner, Boston Review, and others. She is the mother of two girls, 3½ and 1½.

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