Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Week 20

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Halfway through the pregnancy, a super-blood-moon eclipsed
my Sunday night blues. By 10 p.m., the entire neighborhood
had ascended to their rooftops to watch the sky,
and we were a different animal up there together, reverent
as we slid between shadows, and shameless, squinting
like children into white light. After the darkening, a deep ember
set in; Juan hunted down binoculars and I closed
my blinder eye to search through clouds until
I had centered the radiance in my view.

Black oceans and shores of fire.

At that moment, the sun, earth and moon were aligned
and my mother was dying and you were blooming
unapologetically and the Pope was in town and Yom Kippur
and Eid al-Adha had just ended and the leaves were turning
and all around me, people were protecting the sacred,
even the hipsters howling on their knees, and I let in
the thought that knocked.


The next morning, when your kicks were more insistent,
I knew I was finally learning to lean into the darkness.
I will practice sounding out your names.

Coriel O’Shea Gaffney received her MFA from The City College of New York (CUNY) where she was an Adjunct Lecturer for four years. She has been a featured poet for the Turnstyle, Earshot!, Bushwick Sweethearts, and Franklin Park Literary Series, the louder ARTS Project, the Literary Salon, Popsickle Festival, Spoken Word Café, Verbal Acrobatics, School for Human Rights and at the Society of Menstrual Research Conference. As a member of the feminist collaborative 500Genders, she featured at the Bowery Poetry Club, Stain Bar, and Perch Café. She was Poetry Workshop Leader for the first two Bronx Loaf Writers’ Conferences. Publications include: Lyre, Lyre, Union Station, Elephant Journal, the Manifest-StationScapegoat Review, Promethean, and more. Coriel is the recipient of the Jerome Lowell Dejur Award in Poetry and the CCNY Teacher-Writer Award.

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