Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Full Circle

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I'm gonna die in the sea
I'm gonna die in the sea

my four-year-old sang sweetly
as he pulled his pajamas on.

Hours earlier, beside me on the couch,
he'd scrutinized my profile
full human—lines, pores, acne scars.
In that instant, I held no secrets.

He started up again the next day.

My eyes will stay in the sea
My eyes will stay in the sea

(Should it feel hard to share this?
My gut held no knots.)

That evening, I sat with my son
off a busy road at a clam shack picnic table
eating onion rings. The sea was not close.
But as I pulled Finn to me,
my failing cheek against his plump one,
I breathed deep and there was no mistaking
the smell of sea,
calling both of us home,
eventually.


As an editor at Girl Scouts, Kristen Elde supports girl leadership to the nth degree. She likes to make all sorts of things, including poems, which have appeared in publications such as Carve Magazine, Common Ground Review, jubilat, Reconceiving Loss, The Nervous Breakdown, and Your Daily Poem. She lives in western Massachusetts with her husband and Gary Soto–loving preschooler.


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