Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
The Poem Is Interrupted


My son enters the poem
forcefully. He is four years
old and has no time for
the landscape I've been
building with the patience
of a bonsai grower: no time
for the row homes, each
one with a different color
paint on the porch roof,
no time for the predictable
split in the sidewalk slate,
no interest in the long road
from that place to this,
one preaching billboard after
another. He shoves aside
the familiar nouns and
replaces remember, search,
and long with verbs of his
own: show, give, have. In
his hands is a clutch of
erasers, which for now he
will keep in a drawer in
the living room. And now
there's an end table in the
poem, a drawer that closes
and opens.

David Harris Ebenbach is the author of two short story collections, Between Camelots (University of Pittsburgh Press), winner of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize, and Into the Wilderness, a collection about parenting that won the Washington Writers Publishing House Prize, forthcoming in 2012.He is also the author of a non-fiction guide to the creative process called The Artist’s Torah, forthcoming in 2013. Please visit his website for more information.

More from

Excellent! I love this.
Thank you for this wonderful poem. I work as an executive coach and facilitator of learning and development programs in the US and abroad. Immediately your poem made me think of the truth for the people I often encounter at work. In my mind, and as I read aloud, I replaced the word son with boss. In another version I replaced "My son" with "The executive." In yet two more versions, "The businessman" and "The businesswoman" replaced "My son." Then in all those hijacked versions I replaced "four" with "forty." The poem worked perfectly, and told a thought-provoking truth. I wonder how both the four and forty year olds might be presented together...leaving the power of the similarities to be pondered. Thank you for your insight. ~David
Really beautiful and interesting.
Comments are now closed for this piece.