Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Geese and B Is for Bird

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After a night of rain so hard
the creek rose
nearly to the pasture

We took her down the path
to see

Cottonwood seeds floated so light,
a spring snow,
and I caught one to help her
roll it
between her fingers
to show her how it

Like goosefeathers,
she said

But I don’t know if she’d really touched
those bird feathers before
on stiff wings
that contract
even when

She watched the geese
when they were
soft in the spring
black and yellow
raised under a warm lamp
in a barn room

But they grew into
mean honking things
all hard wings
and snapping beaks

Butchered in the fall
An assembly line of log to axe
to dipping, hanging, plucking

They were strung up
the worst of criminals
against the barn door
dripping hot water and blood
into the grass

I watched them pass
from life to death
out the kitchen window

while she played inside;

I’m glad she remembered them
like cotton


B Is for Bird

She rocks the soft bit of yellow
in the hammock of her skirt
The tiny limber nippers
toddle after her in fits and bursts

They wobble on webbed feet
eyes glazing over like toddlers
at the table
nodding to sleep

She sings to them like she knows
how to be a mother
until the looming threat
of her stick-wielding
baby brother
makes cracks in the focused
with her scream

She isn’t just playing
at loving

Everything else doesn’t
as really her as this:
the love she gives to the fluff
under her stroking, gentle


Christiana N. Peterson lives with her family in rural Illinois where she feels the daily call of farm life, folly, food, and occasionally fairies. She has published poetry at Catapult and Curator as well as articles on farm life at her.meneutics and Flourish. Find her blog and links to her other writing at Follow her on Twitter @renewsustain.

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Beautiful, touching poems! I can picture it all. :)
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