"I Dreamed I Wrote Five Poems" - Rachel Hunt Steenblik

I.
I searched for my Mother, the way a baby roots
for her mother’s breast, head nuzzling from side to side,
mouth open, ready to suckle. But I was still thirsty.
Then my belly grew, and my breasts grew, and
a ravenous little thing came out. I offer her my milk
without money and without price. My husband
offered it to her once, while I sat beside them on a train.
She pursed her lips against the false nipple,
and stared at me with sad eyes. I wondered then,
if Heavenly Mother walked into another room
so we would take the bottle. I wondered then,
if we are weaned.

II.
The Father could not hear
His daughter’s whimpering,
though He slept beside her
in the same room.
He could not hear her crying,
nor her screaming.
The Mother woke at every sound.

III.
Conch shells.
They are not the ocean;
they are memories of the ocean.
Birds. Trees. Olive oil. Bread. Moons.
They are not the Mother;
they are memories of the Mother.
I hear Her everywhere.

IV.
God’s Spirit, God’s Breath,
the one He could not live without,
gave me breath when I
gave my daughter life.
She sat beside me on the precipice,
so I would not be alone. We exhaled
and inhaled in unison. She whispered,
calling me by name.

V.
I asked my daughter two questions
the day that she was born.
     1) Did she remember me-
          my voice, my smell,
          my beating heart?
     2) Did she remember
          the one we both call Mother-
          Her voice, Her smell, Her heart?
I can’t remember anything.

Honorable Mention.


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