her green eyes closed –
a mother not to be
in her Nashville kitchenette
in 1983
wept above her barren stove
whose door was broken,
like the lampshade,
the T.V., and
everything else,
not enough for babies.
a once full, warm belly
now empty with her chest
ached for food,
or for something.
“he’s been drawn out of the Nile,”
she told herself
over and over –
“My little one,
my little one…
is with someone else,”
but safe.
she tugged at what-ifs, wishes,
delusions of grandeur.
she imagined, and in
swayed a woman
carrying Demeter’s seed.
she clutched her breast
in hopes for milk to feed
and prayed to gods
or anyone who’d listen:
“would my little one paint like me?
what tears would he cry,
what joy would he laugh?
after God’s own heart,
would he be?”
she asked
till hopes were dead
and twenty-two years shed by.
a mother not to be
finally learned how not to cry
and smiled because
she no longer thought of me.

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