Published on April 17th, 2018 | by Margo Hollingsworth


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.”


“I hope,”

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?


Bending Down


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:


pajama pants

pajama top

yesterday’s shirt



sippy cup



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.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

About the Author

Margo Hollingsworth is a high school English teacher and mom living and writing in Sacramento.

Leave a Reply

Any comments left on this article will be sent directly to its author. We do not at this time publicly display comments. (If you want to write a public post about this article, we encourage you to do so on social media). We love comments, feedback and critique but mean or snarky comments will not be shared and will be deleted.  

Your email address will not be published.

Back to Top ↑
  • Subscribe to Mutha

    Enter your email address to subscribe to MUTHA and receive notifications of new articles by email.

    Email Frequency