The Best Literary Writing About Mothers and Motherhood

Jill McDonough – Body Image

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Jill McDonough

CAREFUL

Josey kisses me Christmas morning in the kitchen
and it’s so good we end up having sex on the floor.

But we are old ladies now, laugh together while we
stagger slowly to the ground, first one knee then

the other gently down, ginger, hands braced on thighs
or holding on to counters, cracking up and laughing

all through the middle-aged lady sex on the kitchen
floor, which is still hot as fuck, still more than any

of us could have hoped to get for Christmas. Josey
laughs while she says Careful and we remember

flinging ourselves with abandon, breaking
seven-dollar resin chairs in yards, the disgusting

ladies’ rooms of bars all over Europe—the damn
Meow Mix! —while we are laughing, laughing coming

and going, while the eggs Florentine bake in the new
oven, their little red Le Creuset cocottes, below

the counter we chose together, testing a tile for weeks
with red wine and Peychaud’s bitters, Angostura,

making sure to pick a practical surface, counters strong
enough to hop up on, hardwood floor easy to clean.

 


Three-time Pushcart prize winner Jill McDonough is the recipient of Lannan, NEA, Cullman Center, and Stegner fellowships. Her most recent book is Reaper (Alice James, 2017); Here All Night, her fifth collection, is forthcoming from Alice James Books.  She teaches in the MFA program at UMass-Boston and directs 24PearlStreet, the Fine Arts Work Center online.

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