Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
that furious force

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We mothers go along for the ride as our own mothers
did, watching as our children change affinities, names,
genders, cities, states, gods and nations. Why be surprised,
why chagrined? You say here are all the tools in the world:
the paintbrush, the book, the thimble, the hammer, the laptop,
the mixing bowl, the particle accelerator, the pen, your wit,
your own strong hands—and your son, your daughter, your
offspring, transitioning, picks up only those that sing to
whatever pronoun, whatever label fits. And if that changes
monthly, why, think of it as one more instar, another
incomplete molt. And, if you’re honest, aren’t you still larval,
surprised at how your surface bears little or no resemblance
to that furious force within you, still mercurial, still questing,
still undefined? And if people ask (and people will) what is
(name) up to these days? forgive them. We come from a
land of packaging, supermarkets with labeled boxes in
rows—people want to find what they came for and go home.
But in darkness, rolling in their beds, they know, they know
the messiness, the hungers, the wish to be more than one
thing, so hang on tightly as this flesh of your flesh (of your
heart) thunders through changes, thrill to the pounding
passage, the winds that tangle and untangle as you fly.


Devon Balwit is a teacher/poet from Portland, Oregon. She has two chapbooks: How the Blessed Travel and Forms Most Marvelous. Her work has found many homes, some of which are: The Cincinnati Review, The Stillwater Review, Sierra Nevada Review, Peacock Journal, Red Earth Review, Timberline Review, Black Napkin Press, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, and The Inflectionist Review.


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Oh, Devon: that perfectly, precisely captures everything about being a mom!! I'm printing it out and framing it. I must read that every day.