Wednesday, May 17, 2006


I almost forgot! Irene and I were working on a Mother's Day poem to post. She kicked it off with the first line, then we took turns writing a line or two via e-mail. In her last e-mail, she asked if it was done and what the title should be, but I forgot all about it until today. (Such is a mother's life.) So here it is, the poem whose completeness and title are undetermined.

Down the hall from the delivery room
the babies form a midnight queue
while their mothers struggle to remember
every detail, but fail. It is the beginning
of beginnings. Babies sleep in circles

of overhead lights but mothers can't
yet enjoy the emptiness of their bodies,
can't see kidneys, stomach, lungs swell
in appreciation of newfound space.
Where is the milk?

Baby's mouth knows, divines first meal
that hardly seems enough, then sleeps
in tight swaddling by nurse's sure hands.
Mother looks on, detached and infinitely
connected, joy and grief
indistinguishable in the florescent light.

P.S. I had an "Oh my god, I'm a mom!" moment today. My daughter and I were at Loco Pops after school, she was stung by a yellow jacket on the playground and there is nothing like a "gourmet popsicle" to make everything better. Anyway, she had chocolate all around her mouth that wouldn't come off easily so I said, "Hold still, I'm going to do a disgusting mommy thing." Then I licked the napkin and wiped her face. A college guy sitting on the bench next to us expressed his disgust (ewww), and I replied, "Sorry, it comes with the job."

P.S.S If you're ever in Durham, a visit to Loco Pops would be worth your while, if you like adventurous popsicles. Today, my daughter and I both had two small popsicles, which are a dollar a piece:

rootbeer float
chocolate brownie
chocolate orange thyme


Blogger Michael Parker said...

A very nice poem, Julia. Having three children, I know exactly the experience of wetting a napkin with your own saliva and washing down their face. And usually this is the case, in my household, after I or my wife have told them numerous times to wash their face before we leave.

I think I can count on my hand how many times they have actually washed their face when they were told. It's not many. :)

12:42 AM, May 20, 2006  
Blogger J.B. Rowell said...

Thanks Michael. They have selective hearing, don't they? :)

9:49 PM, May 20, 2006  

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