Last Sunday was Mother’s Day (Love you, Mom!). Most poets I know took the opportunity to pen gorgeous, heartfelt odes to a woman or women they love. I did not.
Not because I don’t love my mom. Obviously, see above. But because I am a mom and I have given birth to two humans, biologically equipped to be moms. Because, in our flawed democracy, it looks likely that people other than my daughters will have some power over how, when, and if they will be moms. Because this new reality has been a lot to process.
I want to emanate positivity and light, I really do. But I can’t write sweet words of flowers and chocolate and sunshine when my kids’ lives and futures are under threat. I just can’t. So today, I am writing about things I know, about the kind of mother I am, about why a small, unimpressive bird will take on any threat.
These Things I Know
I’ve known men
who could spot a school of fish
in the ripple of uncharted currents,
sit motionless in frigid predawn
and discern four, eight, twelve points –
antlers from naked branches,
peer at a muddy river bank
and know how many kits
the beaver hides.
I cannot do these things.
I do not know one warbler song from another,
I cannot distinguish drifting twigs from a mink’s tail
or remember if raccoons have four toes or five.
I know why
the red-winged blackbird scolds
why it puffs its chest
mocks and mobs
why it teases death.
I know why hawk and not-hawk
chasing, shrieking, striking
until hawk gives up its quiet glide
powerstrokes into the distance
and red-and-black circles back
These things, I know.
And the men I know –
This Saturday, I will be in Washington, D.C. with my daughters, marching to the Supreme Court. I will be there to remind the world that the Bible is not the Constitution, women are not incubators, and I positively will not be silent as human rights are taken away. Please, join me in D.C. or in a protest near you.