Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Mother as Lint

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Stubborn, isn’t she?
Never completely gotten rid of.

Turn around. See?
Riding elbow, shoulder,
ass--Propriety.
Who dares pick her off?

With your navel you’re marked:
hers,
hers first.

Insidious pocket swimmer
hiding in pant cuff
cutting zzz’s in a window screen.

Barely seen monitor
2 p.m. from the dryer
10 p.m. in the backseat of the van.

Distinguished lineage
cotton, linen, flax
now eclectic:

thread and gray hairs
capture motes of the past
for future reference
collector of elm sawdust
cobbler’s flour

history never lost
just wound around a core
chameleonic particle
artful enough to pass for brooch.

Could be unwoven
but that would take a microscope.

Let her count the ways.

What’s rubbed off, slubbed off, lost
or left behind clings to her
and she clings
to you


Elizabeth Kerlikowske is a Michigan native. She is a poet, visual artist, and mother of three. Her publications include dozens of print and online journals, five books of poetry, and inclusion in several anthologies. She would never live anywhere else.


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This poem really resonates with me. I'm in the midst of finally writing about my own unmothering, and it's so helpful to read other people with similar experiences. I love the last line so much. thank you.
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