Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood

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She says it when she stubs her toe,
when there's no more mango,

when the cup stack tumbles,
with a door slam, wolfish,

when I send her to her room.
She's misheard damn it, lucky

accident, but also this mistake
isn't one, damage the right word

for what the world does,
throbbing us with hunger

or defeat. Even love is damage
or its aftermath. I think of the word

prune, as in the necessary cutting
back, stack of limber limbs snipped

perhaps in their prime, in order
to ensure a bigger tree. That gloved

hand that holds the shears? That's
me, and both of us bleed.

Melissa Crowe is the author of Dear Terror, Dear Splendor, forthcoming from University of Wisconsin Press in 2019. Her poems and essays have appeared in Atlanta Review, Crab Orchard Review, and Seneca Review among other journals. She’s co-editor of Beloit Poetry Journal and coordinator of the MFA program in Creative Writing at UNCW. She lives in Wilmington, North Carolina.

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