Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Supermarket Lingerie


I've crossed many lines: I own
a minivan; I say, "Wait till your father gets home."
We attended, as a family, the opening of a Burger King,
sat in a plastic booth eating hot, salty french fries,
our offspring wearing cardboard crowns.
But I never thought I'd buy a nightgown at the supermarket.
It's long and black and silky with stretchy lace; it
can't help but be fashionable. It's not its fault
it was next to the lettuce and toothpaste.
I'm frightened, though, because this means anything
is possible.
My boys could join the Army.
I could die before I have grandchildren.
I might never ever have a paying job again.
Freak accidents could await us all.
This nightgown has powers.
I will wear it, feel its seductive length
around my ankles, let it swoosh when I walk at 3 a.m. from child's room
to child's room to look at their sleeping faces,
their snowflake eyelashes,
their mouths open, throwing their gentle breath out to me,
saying, Yes Mommy, happiness can be found at the supermarket,
pushing questioning children, buying pajamas and bread,
letting us choose a sugary cereal once in a while.

Elaine Gilbert has had poetry previously published in Exquisite Corpse, B-City, and Literary Mama. A graduate of the Creative Writing Program at San Francisco State University, she lives in the suburbs of Philadelphia with her two sons, her husband, and Tucker the dog.

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Powerful and sweet at the same time! Love it!
Adorable! I can't stop smiling. Thank you so much to the writer and thank you for posting it.
Beautiful poem. I feel like the last line brings the poem together. Sometimes we do things that are less than ideal (like buying sugary cereal or a nightgown at the supermarket or salty French Fries) but that thing ends up being exactly what we need. There’s a sweetness in realizing that.
Great voice and details. I had fun reading this.
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