mothers and time

a mother stops writing

surrenders descriptions—her final offerings / to the places where hallowed coconut husks cast sandy beaches into moon surfaces / and travelers who warmed cow dung floors are led home by dogs. / she drifted along blue hibiscus-lined streets / a weathered dress kept slipping off her shoulders.

thirty-six hours of labor / head an elongated sentence, arms parenthetical / finally asleep—her baby, a restless canon / his unknown story takes shape. / plants drip heart-shaped leaves onto stone-colored walls  / a lit globe spins in the nursery, continents flickering.

she remembers warm beer after a medusa swarm / there was no child then / just the rippling, purple arms of jellyfish rooting for bodies. / the people were safe, naked, electric with adventure/

her baby wakes.

Tanya Tuzeo is a librarian and mother to two children and two collections of poetry, We Live in Paradise and Miserable People. Presented here is from the latter, a merciless observation of intergenerational trauma; a family wounded by mental illness, loss, and warfare of ideas in an increasingly polarized, post-truth society and yet continues to limp along, sustained by the vestiges of love and forged bonds. Her work appears in various literary publications, is a finalist in the Atlanta Review International Poetry Contest 2022 and longlisted for Frontier Poetry’s Nature & Place prize.

Appears In

Issue 19

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