Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
“It’s drop now”

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says my baby who is not a baby
anymore at two-and-a-half
on a chilly day in October
from the backseat of the car.

"Drop?" I ask, down-shifting
to protect our leaky tire
from the pothole-ridden BQE.
We should be getting a new tire today,
but we are driving slowly
to a farm in Queens instead
to see llamas and sheep, pumpkins and cornstalks.
I'm tired of being responsible.

"Yes, mama," she says quieter, less certain, but hopeful.
I am the one who understands her best.
"It's cold," she says, "Cause it's drop now."

I sit with this for a moment, glancing back at her
in the rearview. She is looking out of the window,
waiting for the click of my understanding
as shadows skitter across her face.
It's cold. It's drop.

"Fall!" I exclaim triumphantly. "It's fall now?"
We have been talking about the seasons,
she and I, the cold and the burst of color,
the dark and the gradual return of the light.

"Yes! It's fall!" she repeats, equally enthused.
“It's fall,” she whispers a second time,
filing the language away.

It's drop now.
The leaves are falling.
Our slice of earth is tilting away from the sun.

It's fall now, my love.
First we learn to name
then we try to love
what will come.

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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