Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Respect for Life

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She escorts slim and silky spiders,
moths and frantic ants to the safety
of her wide green yard, sets them
down, calls them sweetheart as they flee.

She smiles at carriaged children
in the store, makes funny faces
as they sit backward in the checkout
lines, grabbing at things.

When the lettuce seed sprouts in
the green spring trough under the eaves,
she kneels, stares, and admires its frills.
For lilacs and lupines, she stands up
and cheers, while for dogwood, she bows.
She caters to her pets like clients,
mincing fine food, combing fur,
knitting little rugs for naps.
She coddles her houseplants
like a midwife, taking photos
of the blooms as if it were a graduation.

She once drowned a kitten in a
gray galvanized bucket and told
no one how it died. Had it been a twist
in the month-old gut? She finished the
life in her reaction to its sudden pain,
burying the lank wet ball, then did the
laundry before the kids came home.

She once ended a pregnancy and walked
into the late afternoon feeling free, feeling fine.
Before the births of her babies,
there had been two sudden miscarriages.
Those had made her sad.
This day she did not feel ashamed,
just sleepy and somewhat sore.


Pamela Austin Bourgeois’s poems have not been published since her college literary magazine days in the ’60s. Now she is in her 60’s and her love of word wrangling continues. She lives in the Seacoast of New Hampshire where her family, friends, flowers, and fabrics offer details to merge with memories as she writes. A monthly workshop generates poems that might survive endless revision and constructive criticism.


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