Motherhood Literature + Art

Erica Charis-Molling – Poetry

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Erica Charis-Molling


Elegy for 12 weeks


No lines or smiles on a stick. No calls
down the hall to my wife, no calling my mom

“Mimi” or to make an appointment. No morning
nausea, at least not that I noticed. Did the food

in the kitchen compost reach through my nose, up
turning my stomach? Or did I taste pennies

stolen from an unseen fountain? I wish
I could re-member

the tiny tubes of your heart or the shadow
of your featureless face or the floating

webbed paddles stretched out
from port and starboard, little boat

moored to my unknowing. Did I sleep
like the dead or wake in the night

more frequently to pee? My pants
I knew were too snug to secure

around my belly. I blamed the sweat pants
on covid comfort foods. What did I crave?

What I want now no one can deliver.
With every part of my body I try

to recall more than the shame
of gained weight. If only we had

a few weeks more, you might have
knocked on a rib to say hello. Why am I more

nauseous now that you’re gone? Little prune,
how do I say goodbye to a guest

I never greeted? My body keeps making
your bed, over and over it tucks tight

the corners and waits. Tonight when I turn
off the lights, I’ll call down the hall

‘Goodnight, Little No One, sleep tight.’

Erica Charis-Molling is a lesbian poet, educator, and librarian. Her poems have appeared in Tinderbox, Redivider, Vinyl, and Entropy among others. A Mass Cultural Council Fellow, her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and published in the Orison anthology. More of her work can be found on her website:


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