A hungry fisted baby A red-wrought toddler A pocket of treasures that can’t jump on the trampoline Or go into the bath
She holds acorns, lucky beans, half licked sweets, a dead butterfly, a precious rock, damp socks
And once the dried out husk of a lizard
Her tissue paper belly holds the imprints of tiny bodies once hers alone Her blood all the memories her children shed before they left Her body is the kitchen drawer where we put things that have no other space
Mom watch me. Are you listening to me? Here, come with me, quickly Mom!
Hold THIS she says to herself A warm little body in her bed A rush of hugs in the morning Kitchen dance parties and bedtime stories
Hold it all before she holds their angry independence And the moment they see she is not steel and fire
She will hold this disappointment too With lightened fingers An offering not a curse
Louella Sullivan is a mom, English teacher and Pilates instructor. She completed an MA in Creative Writing at Rhodes in 2014. Her poems, described as “poised and vivid”, have appeared in Aerodrome, New Contrast, New Coin and Itch. In 2017, her first poetry collection “Salt” was published. It was hailed as “a delicately woven account of pregnancy and birth.” She is presently working on a second book and dreaming of a PhD.