Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Never

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A mother should never
let her baby die. He should always
wear a little cap; it is her job
to keep him warm.

A dead child is beyond
the bounds of fleecy
pajamas, and so the mother
is always anxious.

It is wrong to leave a child
unfed. A dead child
is doomed to want. To want
back in, Peter Pan

at the window, watching
the mother with her new child.
And even as she dresses
and suckles the living,

the mother feels the dead
child's want, mirror
to her own. Her breasts will never
be emptied.


Claudia Putnam’s fiction and poetry have appeared in dozens of journals, including Confrontation, Phoebe, Green Hills Literary Lantern, Western Views, and Poetry East. Her poetry chapbook, Wild Thing in Our Known World, came out last year from Finishing Line Press. She was the 2011-2012 George Bennett Fellow at Phillips Exeter Academy, where she developed a novel manuscript. Claudia lives in Colorado.


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