Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
How to Be a Mother Again

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Start in the produce section.
Hold various rounded objects of light

yet solid weight, a cantaloupe will
do. At home, roll up a towel from the dryer,

if you can find an abandoned baby
doll—even better—bounce either

in your arms like a buoy on not-so-sure seas,
absentmindedly pat. Find that box in the attic

or basement, some place dusty or
damp with tiny shoes, shirts, dresses.

Compare the size of everything
to your palm. Exclaim, Hard

to believe. Make your hand the world
to measure life by. Rediscover

the blanket with small creatures sewn
into the edge. Sink

your face in it—breathe deeply of curls,
ride sweet sweat like waves. Bide

your time by filling the chambers
of your heart so far

they will hold stretch marks to match your
gut. Remember to be curious

about that day you took her or him to the zoo.
Write phonetically the way she turned

elephant into only one syllable.
Practice saying it just right.

Scroll through photos until one of her napping
on the floor, notice

the snag of the carpet, the grain
of her hair. Build a church out of saved

preschool projects: pilgrim hats, handprint
snowmen, fusilli dinosaurs.

Model it like Notre Dame, use
plenty of Elmer’s Glue. Then worry

over the corners of things, the amount
of sugar in peas, economic forecasts, and

hard faces. Listen to an infant’s eyes
snap open two aisles over, fist

to mouth, pacifier fumbled, a mother’s silent
prayer to make it through the bread aisle.


Kim Drew Wright lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband and three children. The Strangeness of Men, her debut collection of short stories and prose poetry, won a Silver IPPY and Finalist in USA Best Book Awards.


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