Motherhood Literature + Art

Stephanie Noble – Two Poems

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Umbilicus, long since buttoned, now invisible, a tightrope I walk, no safety net
one misstep






Perched on bleachers
we watch our grandson, Number 22,
and his black-jersey teammates
play ball against a team in baby blue.

Our eyes follow the ball, hands ready to applaud
a basket, a maneuver, good sportsmanship.
My ears wrestle with the squeak of shoes
like tires on turns in a parking garage,
referee whistles, blaring buzzer.

At our side our eldest’s deep voice
Rumbles right down to the soles
of Number 22:

           Out of control
                       Bend your knees!

His father and I look at each other,
wondering where are words like
Way to go! That’s my boy! and Good job!

Is this an inherited dearth?
Or worse, because at least
he is here to yell something.

When our team wins, we’re
swallowed up in a swelter of hugs
from beloved Number 22,

and we say all the things we wished
we’d been able to say to his dad.
The very least that we could do.

Stephanie Noble is almost every kind of mother: birth mom, adoptive mom, step mom, mom-in-law, and grand-mom. She has found these distinctions dissolve in the buoyant sea of maternal love. She has been married for 48 years to the artist Will Noble. They have four children and five grandchildren. Her poems have been published in a number of journals and anthologies including the Atlanta Review, Buddhist Poetry Review, and California Quarterly. She was a 2014 Pushcart Prize nominee. Stephanie teaches insight meditation in San Rafael, California, and is the author of Tapping the Wisdom Within, A Guide to Joyous Living. Visit


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