Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood


Just shy of one year old he takes his first steps:
the beanbag-cheeked, bandy-legged Ghostbuster
padding into my bedroom
with a sea-green Y chosen from his foam alphabet.
Because we like you, I answer his
tooth-pocked question.
One eighteenth of a man already;
enough to see himself through the night.
Big enough to learn that I will
turn my back on him, cry as he might,
ignoring the small fat hands that pat my back
and the injured
Of the once perfectly loved.
For now, we are returned to nature: he is wanted, he wants not.
Peaceably docked, cradling his Y,
moon-face raised to drink in my image as I
check my mail:
Madonna with Cellular Phone.
How long will my small satellite, my man-fraction
be content with this, his home planet?
How long until he eddies off to test himself against
an alien shore?
And when he has completed a few more orbits of this
familiar citadel
and walks away once more,
what is to keep me from crumbling
like Jericho?

Julia Smuts Louw is a South African screenwriter, primarily working in animation. Her work has appeared on Nickelodeon, Disney XD, Cartoon Network and other channels. She studied for her Masters in Creative Writing at The University of Cape Town. She didn’t start writing poetry until 2018, when she had a child and became braver.

More from

This is beautiful.
Comments are now closed for this piece.