I open my arms and call my children to me, remind them
that nothing bad ever happens so long as I’m holding them.
My daughter wrinkles her nose at me and rolls her eyes, my son
just ignores me and walks away. I am no longer regarded as sanctuary
a bulwark against precocious misery and frustration, they don’t need me at all.
I close my arms, wrap myself in an empty embrace
dream of being the sort of mother children flock to unquestioningly
a fish mother who opens her maw to engulf hordes of trusting fry
a scorpion mother carrying her ravenous children across the hot desert
a snake mother nested in a knot of wriggling coils of tiny tails and teeth
all of these things but what I am: incomplete without a tiny hand in mine
a sweaty head pressed against my chest, a stream of constant needs that only I can fill.
Holly Day has taught writing classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minnesota, since 2000. Her published books include Music Theory for Dummies, Music Composition for Dummies, Guitar All-in-One for Dummies, Piano All-in-One for Dummies, Walking Twin Cities, Insider’s Guide to the Twin Cities, Nordeast Minneapolis: A History, and The Book Of, while her poetry has recently appeared in Oyez Review, SLAB, and Gargoyle. Her newest poetry book, Ugly Girl, just came out from Shoe Music Press.