Published on April 17th, 2018 | by Margo Hollingsworth0
Bending Down: Poems
“They don’t want them!” she whispered.
The nurse anoints my forehead with a wet washcloth.
“Those other moms don’t want their babies.
Won’t look at them. Won’t touch them.
They don’t want them.”
“I had to get tested,” the nurse breathes into my ear
“After my husband had an affair.”
The doula brings me ice chips.
She looks at the nurse over my enormous body.
“Another June mom of mine
Delivered the other day.
Turns out her fiance was married with kids.
She gave the baby away.”
the nurse puts oxygen back in my nose after I pull it out.
“I hope he takes one look realizes.”
I crack in half, vertically down my spine,
Pouring grief into my canyon.
She whispers to me,
Holding my hand,
Jostling my meaty thighs,
Cupping my vomit,
Flicking my IV,
Changing my catheter.
Poking three fingers between my legs
Checking my progress.
How far has my body opened.
How much more can it fucking take?
To pick up my daughter’s body hot with sleep, cheek wet with drool.
To put her down on the couch.
To pick up the remote.
To take out the strawberries from the bottom drawer.
To pull a pan out of the cupboard.
To put the warm, dry pan back in the cupboard.
To scrape cold, dry clothes from the dryer.
To pick up a sock that fell.
To pick up a half-eaten strawberry that fell on the floor.
To pull on tiny socks and jeans.
To put on sneakers with sparkles.
To pick up in short, deft pinches:
The motions of generations.
My mother’s and grandmothers’ bodies reach down through my hands,
Enacting the posture of motherhood and always
Standing back up.