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"Complicating Israel" reading list

A mother poem for Mother's Day

To all who celebrate, I wish a happy Mother's Day! Here's to mothers of all kinds: our mothers and grandmothers, the "other mothers" (caregivers and teachers and nannies) in our lives, to we ourselves who are mothers -- may we all feel rightly celebrated today. And to all who struggle with infertility and miscarriage, for whom today may bring more sorrow than celebration, may that sadness be soothed and healed.

As mother's day has approached, I've been thinking again about how best to get Waiting to Unfold, my collection of mother poems, out there into the world. I remain hopeful that someday it will see print! Meanwhile, in honor of the day, I'll reprint the final poem from that manuscript here. Enjoy!



A psalm of ascent


When the doctor brought you
through my narrow places
I was as in a dream: tucked behind
my closed eyes, chanting silently
we are opening up in sweet surrender.
The night before we left the hospital
I wept: didn’t they know
I had no idea what to do with you?
Even newborn-sized clothes
loomed around you, vast and ill-fitting.
I couldn’t convince you to latch
without a nurse there to reposition.
But we got into the car, the old world
made terrifying and new, and
in time I learned your language.
I had my own narrow places ahead,
the valley of the postpartum shadow.
Nights when I would hand you over,
mutely grateful to anyone willing
to rock you down, to suffer your cries...
But those who sow in tears
will reap in joy, and you
are the joy I never knew I didn’t have.
I have paced these long hours
bearing a baby on my shoulder
and now I am home in rejoicing,
bearing you, my own harvest.


(If you're so inclined, you can read the commentary I offered when I first posted the poem back in November of 2010.)