Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Joy Empties, Refills

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"Dump," Z. says as he pours
water out of the bucket at the children's museum
or out of the bowl in the bath
or when he sees a dump truck on the highway
or tips his plastic farm train. "Dump"
or "I dump." The word is long in his mouth,
emphasis on the "u," and uttered
with relish. Somehow the action or prospect of tipping
over, letting out, intentionally spilling has been mixed up
with happiness. Happiness could be
the liquid you mix with dirt to make a gooey mud
that can be ejected from the bed
of a toy truck as that bed is tilted up. "Dump"--
a source of joy you never knew existed or long ago forgot,
and maybe now you can vanquish "down in the dumps,"
"I was dumped," and "it was taken to the dump"
for this emerged exhalation, perhaps from the Dutch dompen
but the source of sudden letting go stays stubborn, unrooted.

Ann Tweedy is a poet, lawyer specializing in the representation of Indian tribes, and law professor who currently makes her home in Washington State. Her poetry has been published in Rattle, Clackamas Literary Review, Wisconsin Review, and Lavender Review, among other places. She has one son, currently in elementary school, who loves Legos.

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