Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
9 Billion Hotdogs


You run to me,
where my hands are having another Calgon moment,
a real party here in the dishwater,
to tell me that Americans eat enough hotdogs
(Every year? Every year!)
to go to the moon and back 257 times.

Who knows where you learned this fact.
I dry my hands,
open the fridge,
remove one piece of animal byproduct.
Dumbstruck, we stare,
examining these six humble inches,
certainly nothing to look at but
(unlike me)
fated to be a lunar explorer 257 times
this year alone.

You run back outside, clutching your astronaut snack,
contributing to this important statistic
while I stand,
utterly incapable
of washing dishes in a world of such magnitude.

So instead
I fill a notebook page with
calculating the emotional distance between
myself and the moon
in its predictable orbit.

Soon, soon, today will cease to feel like
a never-ending to-do list
unfurling before me, stacks of dirty dishes
stretching like a life sentence
farther than I can see,
rising infinitely on their journey into space and back.


Dawn Claflin lives in the Seattle area. Her writing on parenting has appeared on Mamapedia and Mothers Always Write. Her poetry has appeared in Eunoia Review and Plum Tree Tavern. She hopes to never eat another hotdog as long as she lives.

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As Dawn's mother I have to admit to my part in contributing to the hot dog to the moon phenomena. She probably had that many hot dogs just growing up in a house run by me. But at least I contributed in a very small way to the literary genius that is my daughter.
I love this piece for helping me celebrate the moment among the tiresome minutes. It will stick with me when I do the dishes tonight, prompt me to remember the fleeting beauty of childhood which is right there in the room with me. Thanks, Dawn
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