“[Our children] need a mother’s whole attention. Can I lawfully divide my attention by literary efforts?” –Harriet Beecher Stowe to her husband Calvin Stowe
“You must be a literary woman. It is so written in the book of fate,” Calvin Stowe’s reply.
Hold ink to their lips. Liken
their toes to commas, bright eyes
to colons, set within parenthesis
mouths, wide-open O’s when wailing.
Swaddle them in manuscript.
Mold them with the soft indent
of pen, of ink, jet-black as their hair.
Your characters will be their playmates,
your stories their dreams, woven
for them like any toy a mother weaves
from scrap yarn, remnant cloth.
When they taste simile and metaphor
they will be glad to have a literary mother,
glad for the sweet drip of language
over lips and tongue.
When you feel along their spines,
trace the embossing, their names
and stories, what makes them
yours and mine.
Renee Emerson is the author of Keeping Me Still (Winter Goose Publishing 2014) and Threshing Floor (Jacar Press 2016). Her poetry has been published in 32 Poems, Christianity and Literature, Indiana Review, Literary Mama, Southern Humanities Review, storySouth, and elsewhere. Renee lives in Arkansas with her husband and four daughters.