She screams and I curl up a little more, a little tighter hiding from the tantrums building outside. The older one starts yelling and I am in my shell I can’t hear a thing.
Inside me is a thin, glamorous woman dying to get out to go to parties with other glamorous adults talk about beautiful things.
It’s bedtime and she’s not asleep the screaming follows me around the house my husband glares at me and snarls can’t you do something? I feel myself growing round and smooth pearling around the pit in my stomach.
Inside me is a rational woman dying to go do rational things. This angry, unkempt thing digging holes in her palms is not me.
Holly Day’s poetry has recently appeared in Plainsongs, The Long Islander, and The Nashwaak Review. Her newest poetry collections are In This Place, She Is Her Own (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press), A Wall to Protect Your Eyes (Pski’s Porch Publishing), Folios of Dried Flowers and Pressed Birds (Cyberwit.net), Where We Went Wrong (Clare Songbirds Publishing), Into the Cracks (Golden Antelope Press), and Cross Referencing a Book of Summer (Silver Bow Publishing).
Yellow is a high-minded mood the extravagance of sunlight to be touched– not long by the colors of play
It is of hair tendering golden sun brown pennies for lemonade for a child of seven
Yellow is bumping into the screaming end of a lit cigarette
Yellow is dripping from the eaves onto an empty soup can
It is spindling sparrow song from highest perch on roof his pitch can reach
Yellow is in rattled doorknob An infant’s sweet voice wanting – in Reciting menu above mattress edges into sleep Two dark eyes plead for yellow waking Mother into morning–
“juice…. eggs” Yellow is opening a car door at the shore’s unmistakable! Smells of life warmth and breeze Touching strings the kites of sense harmonics above the tone octaves of excitement to see to hear to touch to taste to know again –
the ocean of my mother as she calms the restless waves and sand of us with stuff to lug out to the beach towels, pails and shovels Picnic basket, cooler lotion, comic books, her magazines
Mom looks out her glasses, dark Preside reflecting beauty –
“Take your sister’s hand.”
Yellow is the squeal of cannot wait
Besides appearing in several online publication, Liz Balise has had a poem published in the Mulberry Poet’s anthology, Palpable Clock, University of Scranton Press. Poems, short stories, and articles have appeared in ergo magazine of Prufrock’s Cafe during the early 1990s. More recently, her work has appeared in The Blue Nib, and she is to be the featured poet in the fall print and online editions.
Cheek sweaty against my neck top of head under my chin just so heat rises from her feathery hair
Drifting to sleep body against body softness melting into softness boundaries blurred
My mind tries to work plan. Won’t rub up against bliss till sleep takes over
Even under the fatigue there is a deliciousness that body melding into mine sticky but my sticky
I could detach myself from her do some chore but I let sleep be the most pressing chore let motherhood be
I never thought I’d be so much a mother but when she arrived I didn’t fight it
It isn’t me all of me it is everything and nothing at all It just is
Awake, she toddles over to another reaching relative the center of everyone’s vision
I loll on the couch let her be scooped up let my eyes close to her let sleep come to me alone
Till her hand pats my face again a stern and gentle awakening a drawing of attention back where it belongs
I gaze at her, take the sticky hand soft and unformed put it to my lips put the fingers back to her lips teach her to kiss
She imitates and slaps her sticky hand on my mouth
I must sit up be awake be a mother
She will not be this baby much longer I might miss it for sleepiness but never real sleep she sees to that
Alice Knox Eaton is a professor of English at Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts. She has published essays at Mothers Always Write, The Chronicle of Higher Education, WriteAngles Journal, and Flash Fiction World.
Your granddaughter in white tights and fairy flower-girl dress – party shoes and bright colored candies meant to distract her already abandoned – placed her little hand slowly and softly above the midnight dark v-neckline of your dress into the milky lake of your back. Your daughter, sitting in the pew behind you, held her on her knees until she tired of watching the gentle mark dissolve and dropped her head with all its waves and curls onto the pillow of a purse to take a nap, the imprint still there in shell-white sand by the blue water of your heart.
Luci Huhn attended writing programs at Western Michigan University and the University of Iowa, and published a chapbook with Breakwater Press titled ‘The Years That Come After’. She recently retired as Director of Training at a Native American casino in Southwest Michigan, and has happily returned to writing poetry about nature, family, aging, and motherhood.