Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Pantoum of Divided Attention

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To understand what a door is,
to understand that something opens,
to see the line of light behind it,
pull and go through.

To understand that things open,
hinges determine, define the space.
Pull, go through with it,
render a space open, possible.

Hinges that determine, define space.
Celtics called them thin places.
Room rendered open, possible
between here and heaven.

Thin places, a disappearing, the surrender
of time and place as if these drew circles
around me. Cage or comfort thick with wanting
another place and God these marshes between.

I want time and all its dark circles to drop me.
Please give me your undivided attention.
This swamp of attentions, thick air and wanting.
On the plane the one-year-old on my lap,

flight attendant says undivided attention,
the oxygen mask. In case we drop.
She pulls the elastic strap, the one-year-old on my lap,
pay attention to everything becoming thinner.

Pay attention to the phone, the road, the child, the bed.
Scraps of minutes. Divided time. Staccato now.
Understand everything's becoming thinner,
understand what a door is, open or worn away.


Rebekah Denison Hewitt lives in Black Mountain, North Carolina, with her husband and two little boys (ages two and four). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Sou’Wester, Midway Journal, and The Laurel Review.


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