the mother poem

Samantha Harrison

this is not for my mother but it is for the mother
that is living in me. dormant. waiting to come out.
for a long time I tried to squash her. now, she squashes me.
she can’t be quiet for too long. even when I’m sleeping
she wakes me up in the middle of the night to remind me,
when you name your child you will cry. you are not ready.
are we all born with mothers already in us? the instinct
is latent. the sound of a crying child makes us all
want to breakdown too. weep until we know what to do.

I am out at a restaurant with a lover and a fat-faced baby                                                  
breaks my train of thought. stops my eating. we watch each other                                                  
like frightened animals—mice meeting in a field.                                                  
here, the mother in me tries to jump out. she tells me                                                  
to hold the baby against me. tightly. until we’re just one body                                                  
not afraid of each other anymore. back to basics, she says, whole again.                                                  
I wind strands of my hair between my fingers and think about                                                  
her good intentions. her unreasonable wisdom. she sits                                                  
between my uterus and my guts. I carry her with me for now                                                  
but one day we will be one. again, just one person,                                                  
and she will lay me down. brace me for the great impact.                                                  
deliver the baby and weep with joy when we are done.                                                  

Samantha (Sam) Harrison (she/her) lives in Indiana and is an English major studying at Franklin College. Her poetry has appeared in The Merrimack Review, Tiny Flames Press, Turnpike Magazine and Nymphs. In her free time, she draws cartoons and posts occasional thoughts on her twitter (@totallysamh). 

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