Poems & Essays

23 Oct

What Do Mothers of Teenage Daughters Want?

General/Column One Response

–after Kim Addonizio’s “What Do Women Want?”

I want my little girl back.
I want her snuggling and grateful,
I want her too loquacious; I want to hear her ramble
until I press my hands to my ears and beg her stop.
I want her fenceless and guileless,
this daughter, so I don’t have to guess
what she’s hiding. I want to glide with her in a two-person kayak
through the rushes of the creek past the ducks and the lily pads
with all those white blossoms opening out into the sunlight,
past the dock-sitters dunking their feet,
past fishermen casting lures into shadows.
I want her to babble on like she’s only
four again and I’m the only one she’d pick.
I want that little girl so bad,
not this teenager confirming my worst fears,
showing me how little she cares about me
or anything except what
she wants right now. And when I find her, I’ll pull
that baby from the depths like I’m rescuing her
and I’ll resuscitate her through this adolescence, through
the bad-grade cries and the break-up cries and the I hate you cries and I’m moving
in with dad cries, too.
Because, dear lord, this teenager is wearing me
down to a dumb red heart,
thumping like a fish
in the bottom
of a boat.

 

 

Elizabeth Johnston is a feminist writer, teacher, and mother of two daughters. Twice-nominated for the Pushcart Prize, her poems appear widely, most recently in *New Verse News,* *Feminist Formations,* and forthcoming in *Women Studies Quarterly.* You can read more about her at her website, http://strawmatwriters.weebly.com/creative-publications.html, and find her on Twitter @libbyjohnston74.

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23 Oct

Baby Bird

General/Column One Response

I found a baby bird in my garden
featherless body no bigger than my thumb
head bobbing, legs kicking, tiny wings flailing
eyes sealed shut, blind
and its mouth wide, gaping
searching for the food that will never come
The same look my newborn gives me
before each feed
But, unlike my baby
this bird’s plea for life goes unanswered
This bird, helpless and alone
won’t survive the night

I found a baby bird in my garden
shivering and desperate, and I ache
wondering how a mother could be so cold
not just the bird who fails to claim her young
but the one who holds all our lives in her hands
The one we all call Mother

I found a baby bird in my garden
and, that night, I held my baby close.

 

Jamie McLachlan is the Canadian author of The Memory Collector Series: Mind of the Phoenix (an Amazon Bestseller in Dark Fantasy), Pawn of the Phoenix, and Rise of the Phoenix. In addition to novels, she writes poetry and short stories such as “The Eyes of the Heart,” which can be found in the collection Déjà You: Stories of Second Chances. When not writing, she enjoys reading, dabbling in various crafts, spending time with her husband and two sons, and letting her imagination roam with the help of great music.

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23 Oct

Two Bikes

General/Column No Response

In our grief, we are like children.
We spend our grown-up money
on two bikes, in bright-ass orange,
as the salesman says.

We ride at dusk, the pavement
moving back in time, before we
knew your little love, greater than
all the love we’d known before.

There is no fear; I pedal harder,
harder. What is it to lose myself
now that I’ve lost you? I lean low
into the curves.

We ride our bikes at dusk like
children, the dappled haze of
dying sunshine tangling
in our hair.

 

Cristi Donoso Best is a foster mother and a speech therapist. She lives in Virginia. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Rattle: Poets Respond, The Threepenny Review, and Literary Mama.

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23 Oct

Spring Debut

General/Column No Response

Days ago, the drive to the hospital,
the streets ruddy and sleek-silver
in early spring rain. The last chill and
the buds about to burst, waiting for
heat to help them along. Today everything
warmed by the golden touch of late March’s sun.
They drive past forsythia’s flailing yellow limbs,
the dogwood petals, pink and white
with the new baby, who will grow to love
the spring she was born in. The baby,
who will soon smile at azaleas red as fire,
red as the first strands of hair that will mark her
as the wild one, full of flame. She will defy
them all, blaze zig-zagged trails through
their attempted peace.

 

 

Anne Hunley Trisler is a writer, mother, and Fundraising Event Coordinator for a non-profit in Knoxville, Tennessee. Through the University of Tennessee, she won the Margaret Artley Woodruff Award for Creative Writing for her poetry and received an Eleanora Burke Award for Nonfiction. Her work has appeared on Mothering.com and in Struggle, Barbaric Yawp, and The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review.

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