The Best Literary Writing About Mothers and Motherhood
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Why I Write by Carly Susser

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A pen in hand works like bloodletting.  Something in the gut.  It’s the Voice of all voices asking to reign and leave my body behind, but I need more time.

I trust other people when I want to believe they’re like me when I’m small in thought, shrinking to make room for their needs.

The sweeper arrives and tells me to clean, hands me a broom.  I sweep and find that God is here with knees to kneel and hands to pray, but God is made of rivulets, winding every way.

Secrets are insoluble.  They litter a shore called Plastic Beach.  It’s not God’s fault, the water like Fate.  Nobody goes there, not even the sweeper.  I volunteer.  The sweeper says I’m a martyr.  I’d go to clean but end up keeping each one.  It’s because I can’t discern mine from the rest.  Neither can he, which to him means don’t bother.  But they call for me in a chorus of cries which prompts the wings within me to fly, then the Voice of all voices is free for a time, until my pen wobbles and the script looks illegible, when the Voice goes back inside.  The sweeper just laughs because he believes that sky is ceiling and death means end.

I’m digging my own canal.  It’s singular and inconclusive.  I’m on my way.


Carly Susser is a word artisan from New Jersey who anticipates receiving her MFA in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College.

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