Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Prima Materia

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My prima materia is uterine rock,
castoff mineral, tissue moons.

Buzz Aldrin’s first words when
he stepped on the moon
were words we don’t often hear:
Magnificent desolation!

I wonder, if I dive into those words,
will you accuse me of being uncaring?

In London there was a little park
I passed through twice every day.
It was studded with deep green
gravestones, and pillowed with quiet.

It held me for a little while. In the morning

I entered through a far-flung
wrought iron gate. In the afternoon
I slid by discordant concrete, the back
wall of a shabby pub’s private room.

In the middle there was simply someone
else’s past, and sky between the trees.

I’m not a mountain to climb on, I tell
my children now. But why? I offer
them landscapes: fleshy mound of belly,
shoulder peaks, inexplicable calloused heels.

My daughter dreams a sinister woman
who smokes a pipe of willow wood. She
runs away. She’s still too young to know
how to pass through, or even stay.

I dream a black snake slithers off an altar
and I swallow her. She coils in my womb,

at home, poised to proclaim with forked tongue
the moonscape beauty, the sheer
uselessness of what surrounds her.


Amy Elizabeth Robinson’s writing has appeared in Vine Leaves, DASH, and West Trestle, and as part of Rattle’s innovative Poets Respond program. She is also a Contributing Editor of the Pacific Zen Institute’s online journal, Uncertainty Club. She holds several degrees in history, from Princeton and London and Stanford, but she took a left turn and ended up stumbling through poetry and Zen, where she is pretty much happy. She lives in the mountains of Sonoma County, CA with two children, a husband, and lots of deer, quail, squirrels, scrub jays, and spiders.


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