Published on August 30th, 2018 | by Katie Hoogendam


Catch and Release: Poems


Catch and Release

Shovel in the soil

my mother pulled a drag

took a swig

lifted her eyebrows.

Without asking

I understood.

Sliding softly from the hook

her deft fingers left

only blood.




Wild Mother Suite




A mother is woman most feral, wild

fangs burst forth when first with child

wings unfurl in labor, contractions,

metaphysical calculus: addition, subtraction


When babe has weaned the claws appear

ten mother’s shivs reach out, wipe tears

from cave to grave claws scratch direction

leave marks for breath and insurrection


The feathers, they were always there

but now distinguished from her hair

some black raven, some white owl

perfumed with wisdom of the fowl


At once a wolf a bear a bird

At first a circle a sac a sea

Mother original biosphere, wilderness, tree:

The children, they build forts in she,

make fairy houses in crannies

hang from limbs and rock in breeze

carve hearts, initials, whisper dreams.




I was at a yuppie hippie gathering the other day when I overheard a woman say, “Some people have precious mothers. The mothers have been passed down from mother to daughter generation after generation. Some people have their great-grandmother’s mothers. They would do anything to protect them, and still, they have to keep severing them. If they don’t split the mother, it will die. They have to give portions of the mother away to keep it alive.” Of course, they were talking about sourdough, but I know you know what I know.





alma mater, dark matter

moibus strip

pitter patter


white ink

artist, priestess, kitchen sink

mother with her brush in hand

pen, pencil, tambourine

mother with her canvas grand

mother in her mom jeans

mother with her arms outstretched

mother with her empty womb

mother with her canvas stretched

mother stretched and stitched and pruned

mother star in constellation, children stars narrate the story

mother lost in contemplation mother lost in allegory

mother wild like limbs in thunder

mother quiet like a breath

mother to the muse surrendered

mother, surrendered to herself.


The Legend of Sleeping Bear


Gaia and the Diaper


When I am mother

I am Mother Earth

thunderous size

thunder thighs

thunderous cries,

wailing abating


craven brazen

wet, wetting

lightning inciting

symbolic chaotic

extracting exacting.

A hidden order

murderous; comforting.

Red in tooth and claw.


My Mother said,

I never should
Play with the gypsies in the wood;


Soccer mom, ping pong

taxes late, lay them straight

ruptured cervix, anus stitched

female carnal lunchbox bitch


If I did, she would say,
You naughty girl to disobey.


Child of womb and teat

Did you brush your teeth?

layer of my layer upon layer

cosmic mater

underwater in utero pitter patter


The wood was dark, the grass was green
Along came Sally with a tambourine.


You shook, you stirred, the mountains roared

tectonic tightening crone maiden whore

push and push until the crowning

waves waves waving or down down drowning?


I went to sea – no ship to get across,
I paid ten shillings for a blind white horse.


It takes weeks for your eyes to see

far far away—far from me


I up on his back
And was off on a crack,


Elemental economy

my milk your meat

the teat, the teat, forever the teat

the raw and bloody numb nub treat


Sally tell my mother that I shan’t come back.


The withered cord: a boldfaced lie

no meat to measure distance by

does not separateness imply


Step on a crack,

Break your ma’s back

So you walk carefully here on in

conscious of unconscious sin

the invisible chrysalis sac you’re in

waves break

hearts break

water slakes     but does not break

the sac, the cord, remain intact

no crack no crack could break ma’s back


Sacred trigonometry, mom jeans

the house to clean, scream scream scream

dirt abject amassed unseen

the pull the stench the night the dream

the blood the blood but always clean

the power the force the cum the cream

meconium marrow heart saline

at once divine, macabre, obscene

at once exquisite, average, mean

red in tooth and claw.


Paintings by Katie Hoogendam

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About the Author

Katie Hoogendam is a writer, home/unschooling educator, artist and mother. Prior incarnations include radio host and high school teacher. Mothertongue, her limited-run chapbook, was released in 2018 and “Plan X,” her first play, debuted in the fall of 2019. Her work has appeared across a variety of publications in the U.S. and Canada.

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