Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
The Road to Hell Is Paved


An old woman who meant well walks up and down
the stairs of the same old story in a house full of drafts
and noises and one young mother and lots of other things
like sighs and sharp knives and a distant purple mountain
and shitty diapers and chin stubble and Saturday night
and the throw of the dice and doors that won't stay
closed and what's-the-point-of-it-all she sometimes
asks no one in particular Come Sally kick the ball
Come Tom tuck in your dolly and say good night
she was a feminist, she was, this old woman slowly
walking up and down the stairs and she meant well,
she had always meant well and done her best
Come Sally build a tower for your destiny Come Tom
bake a sugar cake for mommy
note Dear Reader how
these clever children demand to make their own
mistakes, how they kick and scream and weep salty
tears crying no no no no no, resisting just as the old
woman once upon a time resisted, stuffing her ears
with cabbage leaves while her mother who was not a
feminist walked up and down the stairs with pursed lips,
warning you'll come to regret it mark my words and
you'll never get a husband by carrying on like that

oh her mother was a good woman and she meant well
she tried hard just as you and I mean well and try hard,
but as every Dear Reader knows, a daughter will always
choose a different flight of stairs than her mother chose,
but she will run up and down them in the same old way,
I am only telling you this for your own good, so open wide
and swallow. Come Sally Come Tom come toppled turrets
and burnt porridge stuck in the bottom of the pan.

Janice D. Soderling’s poetry, fiction and translations have appeared in many international print and online journals such as The Chimaera, Horizon Review, and The Pedestal. She is a grandmother, relocated to Sweden.

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What a great message and a great poem!
I like how you formatted this poem--almost as if the voice were speaking in a stream of consciousness. Nicely done. Certainly raises questions.
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