Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Poem for Mothers

by Elizabeth Alexander

I love all the mom bodies at this beach,
the tummies, the one-piece bathing suits,
the bosoms that slope, the wide nice bottoms,
thigh flesh shirred as gentle wind shirrs a pond.

So many sensible haircuts and ponytails!
These bodies show they have grown babies, then
nourished them, woken to their cries, fretted
at their fevers. Biceps have lifted and toted

the babies now printed on their mothers.
“If you lined up a hundred vaginas,
I could tell you which ones have borne children,”
the midwife says. In the secret place or

in sunlight at the beach, our bodies say
This is who we are, no, This is what
we have done and continue to do.
We labor in love. We do it. We mother.


Dolen Perkins-Valdez said...

Love it! Mom with a sensible haircut. That's me.

Claudia said...

Such a beautiful and humbling poem. I came over here to say thanks for putting up a link to Frieda's Katrina post, but I'm just so moved by Alexander's verse and the way she turns the small lovely details into a timeless tribute. Really awesome. "We do it. We mother." Need to print this out....! So glad you posted this.

Conseula said...


Elizabeth Alexander is quickly becoming an obsession of mine. I saw her read at ALA and I'm taking a book of her interviews on vacation. It's kind of a sickness.

Anonymous said...

This is the best poem that I never read before. So lovely and so appropriate for me as I contemplate vacations and bathing suits next week. Thanks for sharing!