REBECCA SIEGEL

Mothering in the time of COVID

Already my girl I have regrets—
clouds gathering before the coming
snow—no not the tender ignorance
that made you of calcium carbon
hydrogen nitrogen the river’s
bottomless cold—no not the sleep-
less nights fevers and earaches
not even the mean girls sick notes
math tests but the way the world 
makes it easy to hurt pits me against
my better self how the orthodontist
installs the expander in your pink
mouth and hands me the small key
—dog barking at the headlights
that climb your bedroom walls—
how the night cups his soft hands
around this small flame that wears
your name and time worries you 
down to bone—here, he says, you
just turn it turn it turn it you do it
for her own good.


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