The Curse (written for Rhonda)
a baby in blue gingham kicks
her legs, smiles at me with teal-blue
eyes, smells of Baby's Own
spice; zinc ointment & powder
mixed with summer sweat & damp
I see myself in her chubby arms
& thighs, this seal blubber baby.
mother said she liked girls best,
but my neighbour cried
when she knew it was a girl.
six months' pregnant
how not to become her Jewish mother?
her grandmother slapped her face
when she started her period,
slapping the curse out of her.
& me? part joy, part tears
my fears at having a girl
having to do with vaginas.
every time I change her diapers
I see we are the same:
same slit between the legs
same sweet flesh, same fear
that someone will open
this pearly oyster before its time
as they did
as he did.
from Little Mother, Hochelaga Press
I don't mean to freak anyone out with this poem, raising a girl (now 15) has been a beautiful sweet challenge