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Two Poems photo

After My Husband’s Hernia Surgery

His belly is rounded like
he’s just beginning to show

as if the healing
is its own being inside him.

I tie his shoes, kneel down
to find the hidden

mitten under the bench,
reach the things he cannot reach—

it reminds me of when my belly was
a cliff I couldn’t peer over

before we could know
we knew so little, looking to each other

asking Is this too tender?
Is this tender enough?

In Praise of My Mother

The landscape of her
unadorned, laid out
on the couch after
work—my memory
filtered through
the intricacies of
neural pathways
she sowed in me and tended
from my seeding—a bounty
I’ve harvested
season after season:
the feeling that
the world is a welcoming
place. Amid the falsely simple
maps that gloss the paths
toward womanhood, I have
the compass of my mother’s
stubbled legs and her mouth
of a sailor. Her laugh
a river with many
arms guiding her people
home. There she is
marooned on the stool
beside the stove hood fan
the smoke of her
menthol cigarette
vanishing. A little comfort,
a little rebellion she begged
me not to inherit.

image: David Wright