Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Hippocampus

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The female seahorse
tendrils her tail around his,
brings him close in their morning dance.

Later, she’ll close the distance
between their bellies,
and pump his pouch full of eggs.

There they dwell, hatch, grow, until,
body bucking, he spurts the fry
into the surrounding sea.

Who decides who is female, male?
Mother, Father? When she left,
we were 3, 2, and 1, all in diapers. Fry

measure less than half an inch,
the length of a fingernail,
yet from dad they have enough

to drift, wrap their tails earnestly
around seagrass, sift for shrimp, and secure
mates, homes of their own.

I want to give you a gold trophy
of Hippocampus, a blue ribbon
embroidered with an orange seahorse.

The way our lives unfolded,
when we look close
at one of those pregnant males,

there should be a little badge with
your image
over the button of his heart.


Dayna Patterson is Managing Editor for Bellingham Review, Founding Editor-in-Chief for Psaltery & Lyre, and Poetry Editor for Exponent II Magazine.


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Your talent astounds me! The depth and breadth of it are amazing but the fact that you are talented is not a surprise. Knowing your story, I find this poem insightful and stunningly beautiful. You are my favorite poet.
very moving
Wow! I love this poem. Very powerful metaphor and tribute to the single father.
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