Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
No

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No with a sigh, pleading, flung out with arms
and kicking.

No with weeping and giant tears on her lashes,
her hands tight and tangled in her tangled hair.

Broken no of exhaustion; silent no of betrayal—
As I hold her for the doctor, a limp no

followed by moaning. No to the blue pants, the corduroys,
the sweet flowered boots, to waffles and 32 oz. of milk.

No panties. Not ever. I never, never, ever
panties. Testing no and its new partner,

Stop. From the back seat please stop.
No white food! No green! But then

No to the tune of “Happy Birthday to You.” No,
I'm not kidding. Sing along, I know you can:

NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NOOOOO
as she runs laughing and naked down the hall.


Lisa Rhoades’s poems have appeared online and in print in various publications including BigCityLit.com, and forthcoming in New Ohio Review. She is the author of a chapbook, Into Grace (Riverstone, 2003) and a full-length collection, Strange Gravity (Bright Hill Press, 2004). She lives in Staten Island, parents two pretty spectacular kids, and works as a pediatric nurse.


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