The Best Literary Writing About Mothers and Motherhood
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Poem for the New Year by Martha Silano

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Poem for the New Year

My daughter said she would go outside
her comfort zone, would pull the string

on a booze-bottle popper. When her hands
didn’t burn, she popped another. Said

she’d try harder at school, listen
in History. I guess I was going out

of my comfort zone, too, letting her watch
the video of the liberation of Dachau—

a woman on her knees, kissing the arms
of a soldier, weeping, a man lifting a corpse

by the leg like a piece of scrap metal.
I tell her as a child I unraveled the streamers

that fell from the same poppers until l found little bits
of Chinese newspaper, what held the colorful paper

in place. Words I couldn’t read or say, words like
oh, honey, don’t worry—it could never happen again.


Martha Silano’s books include Reckless Lovely, The Little Office of the Immaculate Conception and, with Kelli Russell Agodon, The Daily Poet: Day-By-Day Prompts For Your Writing Practice. Martha serves as poetry editor at Crab Creek Review and teaches at Bellevue College.

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