The Best Literary Writing About Mothers and Motherhood

My Face, My Face and Before Breasts by Carla Carlson

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My Face, My Face

After so long
I couldn’t decide whether
it was age making me uglier
or thick hair swamping my features
so I drove 30 miles once, twice, three times
to my hairdresser, but
it wasn’t any better in the mirror—

So I separated
my coifed bangs
pulled off the fraudulent streaks
with my daughter’s tiny clips
and found my face
like my mother must have wanted—
narrow brow, steely eyes
lipsticked my broad mouth, as if it were art.


Before Breasts

I was happy, and slept all night long. Everyone loved me. I climbed like a monkey, stubbed my toes. I had no time for washing my ankles or combing my hair. I had my mother and father, two sisters, my brother, our cocker spaniel, our calico cat, a piano, kids on the block, kick ball, hopscotch, a creek with frogs. I dreamed of gobbling scoops of ice cream, with hot fudge, whipped cream, sprinkles, a cherry on top.

Carla Carlson is a poet/writer living in Pelham Manor, New York. She is currently enrolled in the MFA program at Sarah Lawrence College. She has had poems published in the Westchester Review, The Mom Egg, and Chronogram Magazine.


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