Poems & Essays

19 Aug

Working Mother Sonnet

Toddlers to Teens No Response

Laptop on counter, working where she stood.
Afraid of drowning in nothingness and fear.
Writing between the margins of motherhood,
is to breathe to a heartbeat and bleed a career.
Folding words from laundry or wiping words
off the floor, earning less money than stress.
One hand stroking a cheek, another a keyboard,
finding moments of dignity in the mess.
While he leaves unencumbered, knowing his path,
she searches for words—under pillows, in drawers—
that fill her with purpose but don’t do the math.
And yet, how do you charge for changing the world?
She loves them all, she says. Not one favorite noun
to nourish sentences; raise something profound.

Kara Douglass Thom is a freelance writer and author of ten books, including eight books for children. Her poetry has appeared in Weaving the Terrain: 100-Word Southwestern Poems, Sport Literate and several online journals, including Mothers Always Write. She is the 2018 recipient of the Gaia Fenna Memorial Fellowship at Tofte Lake Center for Artists. She resides in Chaska, Minnesota with her husband and four children.

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19 Aug


Toddlers to Teens One Response

The ends don’t meet in the middle
with the tax man tugging on one side
and the kids jumping rope with the other.
Heck, Baby gnaws the low hanging fray.

Honey, I want to stay. In this house
of first steps and my Mama’s last
Christmas. I’d miss the ghosts of
arguments and making grace.

I’d miss wall cracks we painted gold
together while we talked of strength
in broken places, the music of our foundation
sinking into clay on rainy days.

I want to watch my perennials bloom
until the lilac blocks our neighbor’s view
and we can only scandalize the stars.
But the rows we’ve raised and planted

year after year will grow wherever we are
and my home is the steady drum
beneath the rise and fall of my dreams
on your chest. That’s enough for me.

Cambra Koczkur is a visual artist, teacher, and mother of two young children. She writes most often about her family and issues of social and societal justice. Her work has most recently been seen in Rattle’s Poets Respond.

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19 Aug

Goodbye Plum

Babyhood No Response

The alien moved within me
a twinge of muscle and bone
grown perhaps
a millimeter, the size of a plum
is what the doctor said
but i quake with the
boom and shake
an explosion so sudden, miscarried life.
Nauseous, my body turns
inside out, sinew and placenta
all down my legs
an indifferent nurse watches
my salty tears idly mixing
with your goodbye gore
the juicy sweetness, 12 weeks destroyed
by the silence of a heart monitor
and an empty womb.

Jamie Etheridge is an American writer, mom, journalist, knitter and occasional poet living in Kuwait. She has published poetry in Red River Review, The Potomac Journal, and Unblinking Eye. In Spring 2017, she won the Ink & Paint competition by the Kuwait Poets Society / Artspace for her poem, Epithet. Another poem won Honorable Mention in the Goodreads January 2017 newsletter. 

She is obsessed with alligators and crocodiles, hot coffee with soy milk, and spending time with her husband and two daughters. Sbe also enjoys taking photos of camels grazing on the edges of Kuwait’s deserts (but not close ups as camels are smelly and have really long, grotesque tongues.)

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19 Aug

Getting Milkweed from a Carpool Mom

Toddlers to Teens No Response

When I drop off her son, she grabs a paper bag
and fills it with soft white down, each tuft
fountaining out from a small brown kernel.

I jump out of the van, hold the bag over the stalk 
while she strips off their paisley-shaped pods, 
a few stray seeds swirling up.

I remember how as a child I would reach 
to the splitting husks in the corner of my yard,
pull out the silk, draw it apart, let each fly

one by one, explorers in parachutes, or hot air
balloons, off to discover the world beyond
stone wall and sumac.

Are you sure you want me to take them all?
Oh god yes.  I’m going to rip them up.  I’ve never seen 
a monarch on any of them.  Plus, they spread everywhere.

I sink my hand into the bag of silk treasure like a sachet 
of memories, –Did your elementary school teacher ever
blind fold you, plunge your hand into strange bowls of stuff?

Ha! Do you remember painting the pods gold and hanging 
them on Christmas trees?  We laugh as I chase escapees
so they won’t repopulate her yard.

Good luck, she says, as I back down her drive with my son. 
I may never get a monarch either— but I got five minutes 
with another nearly fifty-year-old woman, laughing, remembering, 

bending together to milkweed, when all we ever do is text.

Jennie Meyer, M.Div., is a mother, poet, yogi, and labyrinth walker. Her poetry is forthcoming or published in Folded Word, Anchor Magazine, Albatross, Artis Natura, Ascent Aspirations Magazine, The Avocet Weekly, Common Ground Review, and Patchwork Journal. Jennie lives in Gloucester, MA with her husband, three children, and resident wildlife.

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