Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Wood and Clay

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Back in the forest of lost whistles
found, warning blasts, both shrill and tender
tendrils of breath carry on. Crayola carrillon,
a fettered, high-pitched sound
or whispered orison
rises sharply, then slides down

gnarled roots fertilized by the fecund loam of
childhood teeming in wet, snarled stories
under our creased secrets.
With your scrambled eggs and your scraped knees,
you answered my prayer
like a fiddle player rounds out a tune,
like a storyteller doesn’t give up too much,
like a touchstone sinking

in the palm of my hand the size of a seed or a song
or a ghost, the size of most
of what all we can hold
Much later, I unfold into motherhood’s valise,
the following items: letdown; forbearance;
abiding yes. Prevailing voice.

Moreso than telling opens the crevice,
like a slice of light splits trunk,
pushing shadows, dividing unendingness--
a deep sourced well fills the chalice.
The liquid, porous slab
of story being poured onto the wheel.
I worry that the clay will harden and set
before I have time to make the mold.

The depth of that tree’s roots
The scant and pliant uprightness of its spine,
looped weak and wistful like two souls dancing,
arms flung in a torpid show
over the unformed shoulders of the other,
weary, bedraggled, candidly optimistic.

A tree grows in its own time, sheds its sapling skin,
and arcs triumphant nevertheless.

Emily Shearer writes poetry, prose, and combinations of both from her home in Fairfax Station, VA which she shares with her husband and three children, ages 13, 10, and 6. Her work has appeared online at Sole Literary Journal and The Whirlwind Review and in print in the inaugural edition of Minerva Rising, as well as in Mercury Retrograde, an anthology from Kattywompus Press. You can read more of her writing and peruse her photo albums at

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