Poems & Essays

29 Jun

Postpartum Mohawk

Babyhood No Response

I was afraid to love my daughter
until one night in May
the air was warm the windows
open – 
playing in the tub I had
smoothed her silky hair full of suds
into a mohawk which curled and cued and
flopped at the tips
like dorsal fins should never
and saw the shape of her head not perfectly
round but more potato
the grin on her cheeks
lopsided unknowing
of how fast the world turns frightening
how memories, stuck
turn a good moment sour
and I left the slick hair
let her feel a cool head
wanted to keep the deep, dark
pockets under my eyes
and turn invisible
so that she could have more.
More of everything. 
I forgot my own face and
tenderness stopped hurting. 
I held it
flexed jaws 
gulped grief
said it out loud and it wasn’t that heavy
not any heavier than her. 

Elizabeth Bolton is a doctoral researcher at the University of Toronto where she studies poetic literacy practices. In addition to poetry she writes narrative and experimental works. Most notably, her stories and poetry have appeared in Open Minds Quarterly, Event, NoD, Wayfarer and Dark Ink Magazines, among others. 

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Morning June 29, 2020 Wind Chime June 29, 2020