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.
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.
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.)
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.