Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Lesson on Carrying

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Note stapled to second-grade addition homework: Please DO NOT teach your child to carry.

How to add things up in this world is a mystery to me
then, child. One step and one step I know to be
two. Beyond that, who knows what to say about arc
or vector, or whether the two giant steps you took
this morning were in place, stamping your feet for warmth
at the bus stop, or the first two steps toward somewhere.

Child, I remember only a thread of what you're living now:
Deep indigo seam of someday. Knowing I would grow
away and into someone, as days doubled up into years.
Truth is, I'm still running down that wooded trail in tears
grabbing anything I can find: rhymes and stones, the sound
of my mother singing, my brother's outstretched hand.

To carry anything at all--no longer taught, I know.
But open up your pockets, child. I have something to give you.


Molly Spencer’s work has appeared in What Light, and she is a two-time poetry finalist in the Mentor Series contest sponsored by the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, MN. Molly lives in Saint Paul, MN, with her husband and their three young children. She blogs about writing and motherhood at Both Fires.


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Loved this, Molly! Beautiful. Concise. Moving.
>>> Truth is, I'm still running down that wooded trail in tears grabbing anything I can find: rhymes and stones, the sound of my mother singing, my brother's outstretched hand. <<< Beautiful!
Oops -- My comment was cut-off. I meant to say I love those three lines. And the entire poem is just beautiful.
I am grievously offended by doctrinaire Educators and waste energy grinding my teeth over them. But here you are, doing something useful about the infestation. Nice work, Molly.
Your poem cracked open my heart this morning, in a good way.
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