Heather Bartlett

Motherhood

I give birth everyday at least once – late afternoons, usually later, in summer. Just about the hour I lean against the cream-colored wall – my mother might call it off white – I haven't wanted a child, not the way the television actress loves her new baby – holds her cheek against his – most days shields him from the cameras, names him after the warmest month and mouths it precisely into the microphone. No, my children are not babies. They do not belong to me anymore. One sleeps when I do, next to me, quietly. Another sleeps under me but never sleeps. The rest are under my fingernails, in my mouth, across the room behind the television. And when there is only light enough to see the outlines of the frames against the walls, I hold them up, one at a time, and tell them how I’ll let them fall.

Heather Bartlett received her MFA in Poetry from Hunter College and currently teaches creative writing and english literature at Elmira College in upstate New York. Her previous work has been published in RealPoetik and California Quarterly. Her chapbook, Bleeding Yellow Light, is reviewed in this issue of Melusine.