Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Poem for Urban Earth Mama and all you moms

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
saliva'd sheets

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


bella said...

Thank-you for sharing this.
As always.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this gift. For knowing and living and surviving this fear of mothering a daughter, of becoming big enough to hold her and hold ourselves too. To know that others walked this path before, and to know how the REALLY felt, brings meaning and hope in the midst of anxiety. Thank you.

Your writing makes me catch my breath - just startles me awake. A few days ago, as I read your words about becoming Mother, about the mutuality of needing and the merging of selves, I cried. I wanted to cut your words and paste them in my blog. In fact, I still might...with all credit going to you of course. You capture what it was like to become a mother, not just yourself, but for many of us I think.

Know that your wisdom, your words and your presence go far beyond your own family., And I would love to find a copy of your book...I'll keep looking myself but if you find one, put my name on it.


musemother said...

Dear Brooke & Bella,
your words comfort me. I am always afraid I go too far, make others uncomfortable when I speak my truth. It still takes courage, even though the book has been published, the poems are out there,
to say, this is my experience, this is how I feel. I love having an on-line community - it feels like a blessing to have readers like you, responding, sharing, encouraging the 'real' moms to speak up.
with deep appreciation,

Chloe said...

Jen- I first read this poem when you posted it back in December and it often comes to my mind as I go about my day. Just stopping by to read it again.