Poem 141

We overcame our mothers

when we were sixteen and without child.

I watched the summers flutter on

A luna moth counting myself lucky

to hit the bulb again and again

to fall away unscathed once more—

We overcame our mothers.

In the back truck-beds of red

Pick-up grinds, where we bade

The same prayers and were protected.

Then we grew up—suddenly,

I was tonguing baby names

Out of joy instead of dread.

I am grateful, for us, to be twenty

To be hopeful for our wombs

To be lovely and plump with miracle.

We overcame our mothers; I hardly

felt the triumph, barely knew the ruse

that when we overcame our mothers,

we lost the our sovereign youth

—ECW

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