Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Pantoum

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Nothing will change my love for you,
Not even splatters on the floor,
Or smears of ancient carrot goo
Appended to my kitchen drawers.

Not even splatters on the floor --
They're gray drips I forgot to clean.
Appended to my kitchen drawers:
My mental lists, the day's routine.

There. Gray drips. I forgot to clean
The baby's bottles. Need a shower.
My mental lists, the day's routine
Go shifting, failing by the hour.

The baby's bottles. Need a shower,
I mutter while my shots at sleep
Go shifting, failing by the hour.
Another day. The laundry heap.

I mutter while my shots at sleep
Miss badly. Xanax, rescue me.
Another day. The laundry heap
Threatens to leave my bare ass free.

Miss badly Xanax. Rescue me?
The language center of the brain
Threatens to leave my bare ass free
Of syllables that sound urbane.

The language center of the brain
Develops quickly. Ian speaks
In syllables that sound urbane.
Our conversation through the weeks

Develops quickly. Ian speaks.
He grabs my hair and giggles, croons
Our conversation. Through the weeks,
I learn to warble Ian's tunes.

You grab my hair and giggle, croon,
One eyebrow smeared with carrot goo.
I learn to carry every tune.
Nothing can change my love for you.


Melissa Frederick lives in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, with her husband, David J. Snyder, and son, Ian. Her poetry and prose have appeared in Crab Orchard Review, The Cream City Review, Mid-American Review, DIAGRAM, and Philadelphia Stories, among others. In 2008, her first chapbook of poetry, She, was published by Finishing Line Press.


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I love it! The pantoum is the perfect form for early motherhood--repetition and retracing your steps.
Wonderful! I too love the repetition and especially love the opening and closing line. Through it all, a mother's love prevails.
Gawd! I don't even know how you did that! What a feat!
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