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I am 4.

I am 38 and you’re making me scrambled eggs.

You got the call and you’re making me scrambled eggs.

It’s the night before the morning of your transplant.

Old women sing of their mothers.
And I know I will always miss you when you’re gone.

But not today.
Not today.

I’m sorry, I say.
And you say, no. I’m your mama.

I’ll always be here to make you scrambled eggs.

I am 38.

And we’re at the kitchen table. You’re so tired and I’m so little and it’s so late.

I’m sorry, I say.

And you say, no. I’m your mama.

I’ll always be here to make you scrambled eggs.
Elizabeth Kelly Nov 2023
I remember the first time I got high.

My boyfriend’s mom
Had bough croissants
The day before.

It’s Thanksgiving Eve
And these croissants
Are delicious.
Elizabeth Kelly Nov 2023
There’s something so comforting
In trading in everything
The taking and giving
Of motherhood

What does it mean to be whole?
Shifting your insides around an additional soul?
The pain and the toll
Of motherhood

How to express
The vastness of universes
Alongside the mundane  
Of getting dressed in the morning?

There’s something so absolute
Something so boundlessly true
In the brown of the root and the red of the fruit
In the green of the shoots
Of motherhood
Elizabeth Kelly Nov 2023
Exhaustion is a thousand starving mouths;
Insomnia, a single gnawing doubt.
Elizabeth Kelly Nov 2023
There’s a monster lurking
Working at the chains fixed to the wall

It’s gnawing,
ever sawing
Ever sawing through the gristled gall

And here I am
A traitor
Telling tales
Upon the bristled ball

Oh treason, tongue of daggers, poison apple take the fall!

I stare into the maw.

- - -

I wander through the mists of mourning
Pearls adorning every limb
As tears.

They drop and drip,
they pour in
waves, cascades
they coat my lips as fears

And warnings, death and din
And here I am, a berth of sin
A deer,

the headlights imminent,
the rain downpouring,
glistening and raw;

I stare into the maw.
Elizabeth Kelly Oct 2023
It is rare that I see me in you.

Oh my word, they all say,
She looks just like her daddy!

They’re right, of course.
The snub of your nose, the sleepy turn of your eyes,
The golden autumnal hue of your shining hair.

No, I rarely catch my reflection in your mirror.

This morning, though,
you didn’t know I was looking.
You were staring out the window, music playing in the background,
At some blissful something in the cloudy October sky
And I flashed to the moon chasing the car when I was six years old.
Listening to Paul Simon and Linda Ronstadt with dreamy ears in the dark backseat of my parents’ old GM conversion van:

“Joseph’s face was Black as night, and the pale yellow moon shone in his eyes.”

And suddenly I’m blinking back tears on the way to the babysitter on a pearlescent early-fall day,
Fearing as sharply as hoping,

Please god let her have inherited the moon.
Elizabeth Kelly Aug 2023
I should be asleep
Or playing the guitar.

I should be planning my next moves
Like the spider who lives in the screen door
Always weaving, weaving,
Catching her flies.

I should be asleep
Or playing the guitar
Or planning, weaving,
Catching flies.

Whoever heard of a person who just sits?

Yet here I sit.


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