Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Good Poem

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There must be a way to write a good poem
about potty training. Do I mention Greek
mythology in a description of perfect baby
butts, cherub cheeks or the Sistine's glowing

pink globes, folds of rounded skin holding
scrolls, filling corners, framing God as he
extends his arm to Adam. Our eyes cannot
get enough of nakedness. How do I explain

the daily shock that this opinionated, intelligent
human who thinks original thoughts was once
in my body. He asks if Papa has a penis. He asks
if the garbage truck driver has a penis. He asks

what every object is made of, including the walls,
including the plastic potty, tiles, toys, his hands,
pee, hair. My answers are too interesting, too
detailed. He is compelled. Unable to stop. Look,

I say, we're made of dirt, okay. God made us
out of dirt. And he asks what kind of trucks
God used when he made us: Bulldozer?
Back-hoe excavator with treads? Dump truck?

Gantry crane? Construction vehicles whirl
into motion, loose sand suddenly swirling,
building into the storm of questions I have--
about gardens, ribs, and what it means

that something was good.


Crystal Ellefsen’s writing has appeared in Calyx, Ruminate, Art of Simple, and other lovely publications. While a student at UCSB, she won the Ina Coolbrith Prize in Poetry, and in 2010 she won the Linda Hodge Bromberg Literary Award. A graduate of the San Diego State MFA program, she lives in San Diego with her blended family.


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