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A Poem About Childbirth That Wrecks Me

5 Mar

Click image for photo source

The Moment the Two Worlds Meet

By Sharon Olds

That’s the moment I always think of – when the 

slick, whole body comes out of me,

when they pull it out, not pull it but steady it

as it pushes forth, not catch it, but steady it

as it pushes forth, not catch it but keep their 

hands under it as it pulses out,

they are the first to touch it,

and it shines, it glistens with the thick liquid on it.

That’s the moment, while it’s sliding, the limbs

compressed close to the body, the arms

bent like a crab’s rosy legs, the

thighs closely packed plums in heavy syrup, the 

legs folded like the white wings of a chiken-

that is the center of life, that moment when the 

juiced bluish sphere of the baby is

sliding between the two worlds,

wet, like sex, it is sex,

it is my life opening back and back

as you’d strip the reed from the bud, not strip it but

watch it thrust so it peels itself and the

flower is there, severely folded, and

then it begins to open and dry

but by then the moment is over,

they wipe off the grease and wrap the child in a blanket and

hand it to you entirely in this world.

A Poem About a Woman Wearing a Red Dress

8 Dec

Print Available here


What do Women Want?

Kim Addonizio

I want a red dress.

I want it flimsy and cheap,

I want it too tight, I want to wear it

until someone tears it off me.

I want it sleeveless and backless,

this dress, so no one has to guess

what’s underneath. I want to walk down

the street past Thrifty’s and the hardware store

with all those keys glittering in the window,

past Mr. and Mrs. Wong selling day-old

donuts in their café, past the Guerra brothers

slinging pigs from the truck and onto the dolly,

hoisting the slick snouts over their shoulders.

I want to walk like I’m the only

woman on earth and I can have my pick.

I want that red dress bad.

I want it to confirm

your worst fears about me,

to show you how little I care about you

or anything except what

I want. When I find it, I’ll pull that garment

from its hanger like I’m choosing a body

to carry me into this world, through

the birth-cries and the love-cries too,

and I’ll wear it like bones, like skin,

it’ll be the goddamned

dress they bury me in.


This poem spoke to me. I’ll tell you why. I saw a woman who knows what she wants, lives comfortably in her passion, and fearlessly embraces the beautiful recklessness that comes when we reveal who we really are with confidence and ease.  I like this woman. I like her red dress. I like that I don’t have to be confused and left to guess about “what’s underneath.”  I like a woman who swishes her hips when she walks in front of a crowd and tilts her chin up just a touch as she looks you dead in the eye.  I like this woman wearing this red dress.  I like her a lot.

Without Internet, Sometimes I Read Poetry at Night

18 Nov

Three weeks without internet or TV of any kind and you pick up the phone and call more people, you read more books, you go for walks – even in the cold,  you clean the kitchen more promptly and take your time combing your daughters hair or nursing your son to sleep.  You even read poetry before going to bed.  This was one of the poems I read last night from the book, “She Walks in Beauty” compiled by Caroline Kennedy.  These words so deeply resonated with me I had to share.  I’ll be posting more poems from my readings, but for now, here is …

After Making Love We Hear Footsteps


For I can snore like a bullhorn
or play loud music
or sit up talking with any reasonably sober Irishman
and Fergus will only sink deeper
into his dreamless sleep, which goes by all in one flash,
but let there be that heavy breathing
or a stifled come-cry anywhere in the house
and he will wrench himself awake
and make for it on the run—as now, we lie together,
after making love, quiet, touching along the length of our bodies,
familiar touch of the long-married,
and he appears—in his baseball pajamas, it happens,
the neck opening so small he has to screw them on—
and flops down between us and hugs us and snuggles himself to sleep,
his face gleaming with satisfaction at being this very child.
In the half darkness we look at each other
and smile
and touch arms across this little, startlingly muscled body—
this one whom habit of memory propels to the ground of his making,
sleeper only the mortal sounds can sing awake,
this blessing love gives again into our arms.

The Poison Tree

31 Oct

Illustration credit: Sharon Townshend. Apple Tree. Pencil on white paper.

Last night, at 3AM I woke up wide awake from a strange dream. The phrase with soft feminine wiles was running through my head. I was even saying it quietly under my breath.  I dreamt I was playing a game of scrabble with long-long-long-ago high school boys persons of the past.  At the onset of the game, I was acting as if I really couldn’t play well, but in actuality I was setting them up for a trap;  I knew that  I would blow them to smithereens with my next two moves.  However, I smiled sweetly and used all of my soft feminine wiles to compel them to humor me and play the game.  Strange, no question about it.  Don’t read into it, okay.  I obviously have a competitive side, or something. Continue reading

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