The Best Literary Writing About Mothers and Motherhood

Elizabeth J. Coleman – Poetry

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Elizabeth J. Coleman

Two Subway Trains on Parallel Tracks

The baby across the aisle in a yellow slicker
flirts with me, eyes crossed in shyness, lodged
in his mother’s safe embrace. He’ll forget

me in a little while, ensconced safely in his
mother’s arms, eyelashes lush as black silk
strands, as I pass my childhood on the track
next to us, that one running parallel

but express, where seats are of a gold cane weave,
and I ride with my mother, pretending to look

like I can make out the words in her hard-cover book.
You’re holding it upside down, my mother says,

and laughs my favorite laugh of hers.


Elizabeth J. Coleman is the author of The Fifth Generation and Proof (both from Spuyten Duyvil Press), and two poetry chapbooks. She translated into French Pythagoras in Love (Folded Word Press). Her poems have appeared in Rattle and Bellevue Literary Revue, and in The Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish American Poetry and Poetry in Medicine Anthology (Persea Books). She is the editor of HERE: Poems for the Planet, forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press.

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