Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
How to Be Fertile

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This emptiness is not so heavy,
being vessel, waiting to be filled.

There are watering days, and days
that simmer, all days of listening

to train whistles, the buzz of phones
in other hands, the clasp of other

briefcases, descant notes of songs
written before you were born,

when others waited, stroked your cocoon,
where you tumbled around inside

like shoes in a dryer. But that was vessel filled,
a different kind of waiting, a kind of swiveling, ready

and not ready. To wait well is not
to tilt forward, deciphering.

Sink back into the couch and forget
the possible. Become the deserted island,

the plane crash, the woman who believes
the dead. The remaining hours,

fill with pedaling. Hang things on walls.
Soap up the dishes, and on occasion,

remind yourself of the tongue,
and what can effervesce.

I am always in the making now,
my blood splintering.

If only all making were this easy—to start
with the blooming of the body, half buried

in the soil of the conscious, the place where words
cannot hold, a return to the throat of no language,

of only gesture, the sweet tension
of living muscle, of release.

Weeks later, I wake at 5 a.m., peel an orange
in the dark, thinking only of the bright burst

in the mouth, its sun descending me
back to sleep. These are the days I can think only

of the belly. Not what is living there
(though I have heard that heartbeat,

the muffled pulse of a train
speeding over its dark rails),

but how to keep myself upright,
of the throat, a dangerous trestle,

a bridge suspended high over water,
of the tongue’s past, and all it used to savor.

Elizabeth Cranford Garcia’s work has appeared in publications such as Boxcar Poetry Review, 491 Magazine, Yellow Chair Review, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Autumn Sky Review, Irreantum, and Penwood Review, as well as two anthologies, Stone, River, Sky: An Anthology of Georgia Poems, and Fire in the Pasture: 21st Century Mormon Poets. She currently serves as Poetry Editor for Segullah Literary Journal, and is a past editor of The Reach of Song, the anthology for the Georgia Poetry Society. Her first chapbook, Stunt Double, was recently published. She spends most of her time being mommy to two toddlers and binge-watching Netflix with her husband in Acworth, Georgia.

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