Winter 2009

Table of Contents - Vol. V, No. 4


Poetry    Translations    Non-Fiction    Fiction    Reviews   

Lisa Marie Brodsky


10 and 5

I am not a mother yet; I've lost a mother,
but I am not a mother, except to myself
on days I hold my waist and rock, tending
to the weak.

But tomorrow, you (10) and you (5)
will come to visit your father
and I will turn into “the girlfriend.” At first
you will dismiss me like a fish swimming
beneath the ice you stand upon.

But what you don't know is one day
I will be your step-mother, the Mama bear
who tucks you in every other week.
I will be there for breakfasts and dinners.
I will want to hear about your day.

Will you (10) let me into your scalded heart?

Will you (5) stop kicking and spitting your pain
enough to see my lap is warm and safe?
Will you be still enough for me to
kiss your head?

And you (10), will you feel trusting enough to tell
me about your first crush and if you do, I'll bring
out that old box of Valentines candy given to me
at age 9. I'll show you the red, shiny heart---
shaped box and we can both giggle.

And when you (10 and 5) go home, your Daddy
and I will smile and I’ll no longer need to rock myself...

we watch our kids bound away in the grass
until one week later when we are your
(10 and 5) favorite parents.


The Mother Who Wasn’t

Childless, I hold scores of children
inside. I bleed an extra blood-letting
due to confused hormones and I wonder
if I lose them in each clot, these eggs
that go untouched, unfertilized.

Red brings me down.

I remember Mother telling me at twelve
that I bleed to bear babies and I imagined
baby after baby slipping from my uterus
as I fainted on a starch-white bed,
a slide of scarlet leaving me.

Now, with husband and step-children,
I am busy with dishes and homework
and reading bedtime books.
But I still lie in bed; the moon’s pull
reaches me through the East window.
The moon wants babies, calls for the
ocean’s current to rock me toward birth,
but I continue to let the blood flow each month.

Must I endure this bittersweet sacrifice?

What--- who lives inside of me? I cannot
swallow my step-children and make them mine.
I taste a dot of blood and thus
my parallel universe: my babies
crying their vowels to me, my babies who
don’t hear their mother missing them so.


© Lisa Marie Brodsky



Poetry    Translations    Non-Fiction    Fiction    Reviews   

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