Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
The body’s deepest structure, dancing

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There are few pleasures better
than knowing who I am,
standing on this rock
while wind and sun surround,
pound my back—my body calm
with a few small certainties.

The traumas have been given space
to surface: collected, categorized,
carved onto quartz and discarded.
The griefs have been grieved,
poured through the sieve, the diamonds
collected into a crown. I've found myself

under the mess. I have prioritized healing,
told myself day after day, forget the dishes
and laundry, today you must focus

on recovery. Her perfect small body bobs
and ripples and I know I must do this.

My legacy
is to make
sense, name
names, stand
and say,
it ends here.


I awake from a dream where I was swimming
in my own genes, DNA like swirling ballerinas,
the body's deepest structure, dancing.

Strand to strand I went
with eraser and pickaxe.

To my husband I whisper:
Before we replicate, Beloved, I must remove
this memory from my chromosomes.

His reply bounces off coiled lattice:
If you want the next generation
to carry better things,
you'll need this
not that.

And he took the eraser
from my hand and replaced it
with a pen.


Crystal Ellefsen’s writing has appeared in Calyx, Ruminate, Art of Simple, and other lovely publications. While a student at UCSB, she won the Ina Coolbrith Prize in Poetry, and in 2010 she won the Linda Hodge Bromberg Literary Award. A graduate of the San Diego State MFA program, she lives in San Diego with her blended family.

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This is fantastic. It's so musical and nice to read, and I love where it took me.
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