Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood

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We just made a child,
he says to the dark.

I was merely aiming
for the place where self is lost,

while in the next room
my mother dreams
of cherubs
and children.

Three days later I faint
as my mother and husband watch.
The two of them know
what my fall means.

Think of the males,
the seahorse carrying young in his pouch,
the female long gone.

A giant water bug hauling hundreds of eggs
on his back, fending off
parasites and predators until they hatch.

The poison-arrow frog ferrying
his hatched tadpoles to water,

marmoset fathers who groom and feed
while the mother gets pregnant again.

The Emperor penguin nestling an egg on ice.

A sea catfish that forgoes food,
his mouth a wet nursery
till his offspring hatch.

What of the rodent that eats her young,
the feline forsaking her litter,
the anemone that propels her spawn
into caliginous waters
never to hold them again?

Lee Gulyas’s nonfiction has appeared in journals including Kahini, The Common, Prime Number, and Full Grown People. A collaboration with Brenda Miller appears in the summer issue of Sweet: A Literary Confection. For the last two years she has participated as faculty in WWU’s Service-Learning Study Abroad Program to Rwanda. This summer she stayed at home with her husband, cats, and chickens, and celebrated with her daughter, who just graduated from college.

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