To celebrate Mother's Day, we've gathered three poems from past issues of Ruminate that explore mothering experiences. Enjoy!
how were there two of you when there was none before when tears could not reach the
shadows of that sorrow why is it such a longing to be filled while others say I would rather
throw myself off a cliff and others have said my life is complete without building it is
building a knitting how is it that one body can knit two separate hearts how is it that one
body can contain three whole hearts at once in the last ultrasound the technician said who
knows if they can see one another in the dark we always make love with the lights on but
our children reach for each other in the darkness is it fear or love will we ever know
Last month the test was negative and another you did not cohere.
They measured blood in little vials, gave me pills to make
the bleeding come or go, and every day, I dipped a
sticky slip of paper in a little cup. They laid me
out on tables, peering in to see if you were
there. But you were not. There was not
even a you to not be, so nothing
has been lost at all. Just time.
It's hard to conceive how things might be
if you were. My belly growing taut and thick,
my mind arranging space for you in ordered lives,
and how we'd decorate, dust off the bassinette. But every
month's an otherwise, each possible eludes us, swept off like
seedlings washed downhill by rain. This, the nature of things. What
finally comes to being comes with shadows, carries with it all the absences
that rest in everything.
I am making you a kimono,
yellow as the ordinary things of the world
you do not know. There are dandelions
here, sunlight on the butter dish.
There is melting and gold
and cling peaches in juice.
You move now freer than I am:
naked and weightless, swimming.
I am making you clothes, though
they bother me: tags and edges,
buttons and zippers keeping me in.
They say this dress
will make things easy
when you’re new. Open and fold,
snap, snap, you’re ready—yellow
as a young duck, a phone book,
the creek after rain. The yellow
of canary and caution. Slow down.
The birth that waits for you is real
as a lemon or leaf, hard
as the soap on the sink ledge.
I am pressing out seams, wanting
to soften the blow. Picturing
rupture and light tearing in,
torrents of sound. The everyday walls
leaning toward you. So many things
I can’t explain. Subtractive, starting
with light. Most visible color. The yellow
of Judas, yellow stars, yellowcake.
I am sewing so slowly.
A bonus poem, the Janet B. McCabe 2017 Poetry Prize winner, "Elizabeth Asks"
Also, a gift subscription to Ruminate makes for a great gift!
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