The Best Literary Writing About Mothers and Motherhood

Catherine Esposito Prescott Poetry

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Catherine Esposito Prescott

 

Palm Blossoms

 

From down
the block
they look
like a layer
of snow.
Hundreds
have fallen
from the palm
tree,
flowers
white and yellow-
green, round,
orbital
like planets
from another
galaxy
with tens
of spokes,
biological
antennae,
lining
their luminous
surfaces,
superball-sized
unlit
firecrackers,
the least
expected
blossoms
thrown
in our path.
There are so
many ways
to fall
in love with
this world.

 

 

Possibilities

 

  • after Wisława Szymborska

I prefer books.
I prefer children.
I prefer nonlinear to linear time.
I prefer waking up before sunrise.
I prefer cooking to take out.
I prefer handwritten notes to emails.
I prefer quiet punctuated by acoustic guitar strings or an aria.
I prefer the slow crescendo of a symphony.
I prefer love in every form.
I prefer to sit next to my daughter and smell the sun and sweat in her hair.
I prefer to watch my firstborn son come out of his funk and smile.
I prefer to see the world through my second son’s eyes.
I prefer Sunday afternoons with my husband, the newspaper, and the crossword puzzle.
I prefer the excitement of travel to the comfort of my velvet couch.
I prefer listening to stories rather than telling them.
I prefer a night sky suffused with stars, planets, and soaring meteors.
I prefer to live in cities. (This is a contradiction.)
I prefer multiplication to division.
I prefer walking on the boardwalk to meditate on ocean waves spilling onto shore.
I prefer both the beach and the mountains. (I prefer not to choose.)
I prefer gardens inside my home and outside my home, plants and green everywhere I look.
I prefer oxygen. (This should go without saying.)
I prefer telling the truth—sometimes in pieces, sometimes whole.
I prefer staying silent when I don’t know the answer.
I prefer dedicating time to my life’s work, despite its foolishness.
I prefer to stretch with yoga and to run on the treadmill—sweating, releasing.
I prefer trust over distrust—even though it’s not sensible nor very adult of me.
I prefer dessert after a meal with friends and family and a cappuccino or a glass of port, if I’m truly happy.
I prefer to be here on this earth and in this poem with you than anywhere else.
I prefer to believe in possibilities beyond my observations.

 

Ode

 

the flock of wild lime-green parrots
the clusia hedge with fat, waxy leaves
the butterfly bush and porterweed
the milkweed which seems frail but hosts dozens of cocoons
the moon which has now set
the sun as it charges over the beach, turning the world on as it rises
using “it” instead of “she”—giving the feminine a break
the pen that works, the fingers that hold it
the teenage boys who grow their minds at school
the daughter with unicorn dreams
the husband also rising
the quiet morning, then the raucous afternoon
the evening with its petty arguments
the soccer, the climbing, the gymnastics
the beautiful bodies of children
the athletes who challenge gravity, who move beyond the mind’s limitations
the mind that tries to sit still
the body that yokes
the genders, the skin colors, the dances, the songs, the languages in which the same thoughts are set to new music
the engineers & programmers who abet the artists
the eyes—of course—even as print gets smaller
the senses—interpreting
the chance run-ins, the surprise diagnoses, truths spoken
the healers who radiate compassion
the seekers who find new pathways to understanding
the concept of infinity, which I cannot grasp—
the universe unaware of pushing outward
I imagine my mind without boundaries, my heart without boundaries
a wall becomes mirage, a line something to jump over
infinity on a macro scale and a micro scale
beyond quarks, beyond matter as particles as energy as imperceptible waves, what if this unfolds infinitely—
what if the cells travel inward forever
the heart and its cosmos, the brain and its cosmos, keeping your world steady
when you pick up the children from school, cook some spaghetti
the children orbiting you, you orbiting them
the spaces between you, full, collapsed
breathing in their wonder, you exhale yours.


Catherine Esposito Prescott is the author of the chapbooks Maria Sings and The Living Ruin. Recent poems have appeared in Bellevue Literary Review, Flyway, MiPOesias, Pleiades, Poetry East, Southern Poetry Review, South Florida Poetry Journal, and TAB: The Journal of Poetry & Poetics, as well as the anthologies 99 Poets for the 99 Percent and The Orison Anthology. Prescott earned an MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) from NYU. She is a co-founder of SWWIM, which curates a reading series and publishes the online literary journal SWWIM Every Day.

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