Today's poem is by Muriel Nelson

Ma (Or Pa)ternal

To know, I thought, you have to make a child.
Take dirt, hot air, a stew, and a mix-up, then
a nightmare when it worms out of body, turns, and worms in.

You take it to heart. But you could adopt instead
most anything—godchild, oyster, Hoover, leach—
call it dear and admire. The sweet whoever-it-is'll

grasp, suck fast. Congratulations. You're
attached (as if you'd wombed a thing or whom). You'll lug
your little fancy to death, then forever pick up after it

old tales. Goodness, how it flew before you
could ease its way (some motherfathertaker
of cares! Stir yourself) into thickening air, plotted with 'ternities. Stir.

Copyright © 2005 Muriel Nelson All rights reserved
from Northwest Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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