mother bodies arc
forming thresholds
that cannot
the immensity
of life
and death

we are but vessels
through which
the deepest pain
and greatest joy
seep and surge

a woman deep
in labored birthing
is asked to call upon the Gods
plea for help in delivering
her baby
though every name
of every saint
she knows is uttered
as she bears down
she merely slips
into a darkness
filled with

and there is another
the newest mother
her gift
of angelic perfection
swaddled in pink
less than seven pounds
with sweetly wrinkled
fresh from the watery womb
now here
in the air
she needs everything
but her house
has a father that stays out late
spits insults in the kitchen
and a mother
who leaks tears
as she is nursing

oh, and there are, too
those written words
that call
from the other side
of grievous pain
one mother’s loss
of her son
not yet four
she is being asked
to hold the burn of searing flames
to the deepest place
within her heart
and still walk
among the living

“seals may bite”
is the sign
at the trailhead
warning of an
“extremely protective mother”
almost extinct
completely defenseless
monk seals
mother and child
loll in low tide
at the far end
of the quiet beach
the small baby
one flipper
resting gently
on its mother’s belly
in the sun

in another place
it is night
and he is illuminated
by firelight
and the inspiration
of seven years
culminating to this moment
of making wishes
in whispers
close to his mother’s face
heart’s desires
carried on hopeful breaths
scented sweet with jelly beans
and all things
he gasps
“I wish that the sky would rain hot dogs
that you would live forever
and never die”

we are mothers
living portals
standing passages
to sieve through
and yes
the profoundly undefined

it’s everyday
as our hearts curve
our absurdly beautiful appointment
we pass you
on the street
filled with an endeavor
that cannot be given
real words
though we hold our lists
buying broccoli
at the corner store
and saying
‘thank you’
when given


courtesy of glyn nelson
courtesy of glyn nelson

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