Motherhood is an expansion of arms;
the cradles, guideposts, and grips
that model clay into new lives.
She watches the solid balloon bounce,
an occupied knee, rhythmically soothes
bruises, scrubs stained pairs of underwear.
Motherhood takes an electric shock
aimed at the arteries,
intensifying with each milestone.
She watches the aging ballon sink slow
like birthday candle consonants, blown
above crumb-stained carpets.
A statue of crucifixion,
the mother lifts her arms,
hammers her own feet, suspends mid air.
She watches the sat on balloon burst,
small pipes of pressure branching,
twisting like wishbones before they break.
The mule of muliebrity,
the mother must carry the load again,
reborn each time she gives birth.
This poem is inspired by this week’s Poetics exercise graciously hosted by Laura Bloomsbury at dVerse~Poets Pub. The assignment, begin at the end by writing a poem as continuation of where a poet left off. This is my response to Sylvia Plath’s first taste of motherhood as shared in Morning Song.
BY SYLVIA PLATH
Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry
Took its place among the elements.
Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue.
In a drafty museum, your nakedness
Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls.
I’m no more your mother
Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow
Effacement at the wind’s hand.
All night your moth-breath
Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen:
A far sea moves in my ear.
One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral
In my Victorian nightgown.
Your mouth opens clean as a cat’s. The window square
Whitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try
Your handful of notes;
The clear vowels rise like balloons.