Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Like an Ear

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We walk a littered verge dividing field from street—two small figures, one large figure—aiming for a car crouched in the dark like a stalking animal. The moon's lost, hidden by swollen clouds—I stumble and keep going. One grabs the other's ball or doll, clashing as old as time but tonight I snap, manhandle them in, flip the ignition, stomp pedal—and only then discover that one isn't buckled. I brake and reach for the backseat, skin already rigid, teeth clenched. They are old enough to know better—I justify midshriek—the sound shocking even me. Their eyes are wide and distant as Jupiter's moons. We drive in astral silence while I steer us around each shadowy corner, even the trees turning away from me. Sudden brights fill the rearview mirror, making me squint in the unwanted light and still the silence, another kind of taking away, pervades the interior. We will travel that way for a long, long time. The moon gleams like an ear scrubbed clean.


Jennifer O’Grady is an award-winning poet and playwright, and the mother of two teenagers. She is the author of White, winner of the Mid-List Press First Series Award for Poetry. Her poems have been anthologized and featured in Harper’s, The New Republic, Poetry Daily, The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor, and numerous other places. Her plays include Charlotte’s Letters (Semifinalist for the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s 2016 National Playwrights Conference); Paranormal Love (MTWorks NewBorn Festival and a Finalist for the 2015 NewVember New Plays Festival); and Quasars, represented in The Best Women’s Stage Monologues 2014; among others.

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