“all mother” (A Poem)

A mother and her four children (Credit: Stanley Kubrick, Library of Congress).

should not shock me that I am

become my mother    I mean

I touch my belly button & there

I am hers forever    her forever.

they say you half your father

half man made

how?

 

her stretched skin tells five stories

her weight our birthfact.

a worthy wait    months

of divine interior

my foot my finger

graced by her inside

same as the others

we belong to her    who half

man am I?

 

I counted her sleeping breaths

knew her voice as good as her dark

wept first in the world because

the nurse wanted of me what

mom already knew    life

health    a beginning

 

& the world was unwarm.

I knew my shallowbreathed bodyhome

could never confess me

to this cold    I knew

her warm would never

 

//

 

now when I place my head

against my mother’s belly

a tender tug & my father’s joke

‘trying to go back?’

maybe.

maybe the light always hurts.

this hurt always leak

leak pool in my center

center tug me to dark

back to her.

half man?

has man ever touched well?

do they know of good dark?

 

it goes like this then:

she seeded her love 5 times

ceased oneness    opened

existed us.


*Author’s Note: I am baffled by birth. What it means to be created, that initial emergence. And then, I look at my mother—this woman of small glory, infinite love, a high-pitched voice, and drums—and it makes sense. It makes sense that life (mine and my four siblings) is of and from her. It makes most sense that life is of and from only her.

Copyright © AAIHS. May not be reprinted without permission.

Precious Musa

Precious Musa graduated from Smith College with her B.A. in English and Africana Studies and a Poetry Concentration. She’s a poet, short story writer, and creative intellectual whose work often engages the inner life of the body, fugitivity, and the racial and political turmoil present in American society. She has published work in Cosmonauts Avenue and has a forthcoming publication in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Recently, her work has turned to her family’s Nigerian-American identity and the origins of that story. When not writing, Precious can be found thinking about writing or indulging in a Netflix marathon.

Comments on ““all mother” (A Poem)

  • How absolutely beautiful! Thank you, Precious Musa and Black Perspectives for bringing us poetry today. This made me think of Claire Harris’s prose/poetry book Drawing Down A Daughter — from a mother’s perspective speaking to her yet unborn daughter.

  • Marvelous work. Thank you so much.

  • Awesome, I felt my mother next to me.

  • Precious!! This gave me cascading chills. So beautiful. Thank you. <3

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