Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Gestures

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Unbuttoning a man’s shirt,
your hands grow girly, careful. A methodical--
metaphysical?--awe for what’s on the other side.
Your fingers, usually  neurotic and quick,
unfurl the fabric, puppeteer-like,  slow-alive,
dance with the last button. Dinner was fine,
you got straight A’s in beef, and there is still time
for delicious blue air that flakes, filters in
to greet the solid panorama of someone’s chest.

Buttoning a one-year-old’s shirt for the night,
you know there’s no time, none left.
So it must be a cowboy shirt. Tuck it in-
to small jeans. There’s a man: watch him grin;
were you grinning yourself? With such panic you love
whatever temporal overlap you two will have.
What grins may come… How do gestures
birth men, anyway? And such solid ones,
golden-hued, singing softly in the crib.

No time, risking with every split
decision to not get it right,
you stumble into the bedroom, to the only person awake
at this hour, kiss him with an open mouth, into an open time.
Outside, every phantom of a wobbling night
is blue, every bit of it dyed.


Olga Livshin’s poetry has appeared in Jacket, The Mad Hatters’ Review, Cirque, REFLECT, and other journals. As a performer and playwright, she has worked with the Music / Words series (New York) and Out North Contemporary Art House (Anchorage, Alaska). She holds a Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literatures and served as a professor of Russian at the University of Alaska from 2008 to 2012.


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