The Best Literary Writing About Mothers and Motherhood
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Nicelle Davis, Poems, and Cheryl Gross, Art

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dreamagainstabsence006-copyDreams Against Absence

I. First Night without my Son

I gather the scent of my husband like a bed-sheet made of mice. Awake, the smell of our family scurries out from cracks in the walls. I cry this warmth made of little heart beats—same as I cried for the empty womb once our child was born.

II. Second Night without my Son

My dreams are a mouse giving birth to a dozen pups. Blind and hairless, the rodents move slowly towards the scent of moonlight. Their bodies are open targets for crows, until the skull of the slaughtered pig opens its mouth and invites them safely in.

III. After Two Nights of Dreaming

At the foot of a tree, where the pig head was buried, I find a pile of gray feathers. The down floats towards me, as waves unfettered from the sea. A yellow beak the size of a diamond washes to shore. I push a thread through the breathing hole. Make a necklace of bones. At night I feel it roosting at my chest. I tell myself the wings were long swallowed, yet a palm-sized bird blinks against me.

lunchwiththebiologistLunch with the Biologist

Nurture can only do so much. There are birds
who migrate the world plus some—others
who will be burned alive if their tree catches
fire. Some stay. Some can
’t avoid movement. Half done human embryos
resemble chickens. Do you still believe in rehab-
ilitation? If pricked, will you not stain this table
with the sins of your DNA?

 

 

pigionsays136-copyPigeon Says, “Beyond Our Genetics is Love”

Sparrows will peck crows to save their
chicks—but it requires chasing
nightmares—Dreamer,
listen to the music
of their wish.
No getting
out
without
going in. The
songs of birds released
from their predator’s crop is
a joy our hearts can ’t put words to.
Protect your son. He, like dreams, is you.


Poet Nicelle Davis lives in Southern California with her son J.J. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Beloit Poetry Journal, The New York Quarterly, SLAB Magazine, Two Review, and others. She’d like to acknowledge her poetry family at the University of California, Riverside and Antelope Valley Community College. She runs a free online poetry workshop at The Bees’ Knees Blog.

Artist Cheryl Gross has an MFA in New Forms from Pratt. She writes: “When asked about my work, I always equate it with creating an environment transforming my inner thoughts into reality. Much like an architect or urban planner, that reality and humor becomes the foundation of the work. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, a totally vertical and intense environment, I now live in Frenchtown, NJ. The rural countryside by contrast to the city is horizontal and peaceful.”

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