Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
All Souls

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But why is Halloween over,
the toddler asks from his stroller, bemoaning
the loss of the hairy black spider at daycare, the absence
of tiny bright pumpkins bedecking the trees.
Because it is, you tell him. Because things end.
Oh, he says, in the way that he has, and settles back into his pushchair
awaiting his passage home.

Last night, the six-year-old
demanded the numbers:
How old is Granddaddy? How old is Nana?
When Grandpa died, how old was he then?

So you told her--such truths are specific--
and she wept in her pillow, coughing and wailing.
Mama, I don't want to just lie there and die.
But some people think...you tried, testing heaven,
and then reincarnation, just as unlikely,
but this one she loved. Can I be a bald eagle? she asked.
Well, maybe your spirit could be a bald eagle--
She frowned. Not my spirit. I want to be me, a bald eagle and me.

The pumpkins out front at the sitter's
are puddles of rot, are collapsed on their jowls.
They died, says the toddler. I think that they died.
At home, his own pumpkin still sits on our step,
untouched and faceless--no time on that day
what with the costumes, the potluck, the nap.
But my pumpkin's here, he says,
as we park his conveyance.
My pumpkin's still here.


Carol Church‘s poetry has appeared in Mothering magazine, Red River Review, Snow Monkey, Facets, Poetry Motel, Green Tricycle Review, and Tatlin’s Tower. She lives in Florida with her husband and their two children, ages seven and three.


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Beautiful! I have had these conversations with my children too. You've captured it exquisitely.
How can we tell them? How can we not? This is a tear-stingingly beautiful poem. Thank you.
Carol this is awesome. It captures your kids, and the poignancy of life. Terrific.
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