POETRY December 6, 2019

“The flesh and a broken whisper”

I asked my mother
about the children,
who came before me,
who were nameless
and kicking until one day,
the kicking stopped, and there
was no body to bury, only
the empty song of the word
mother in her mouth. I wonder
what she thinks of every time
I call her by that name.
Mother, mother, I’m sorry
for the way your body learned
of hunger, of emptiness, of
cavernous quiet. In the dull
pulse of this night, I long
for someone to hold me,
but instead I hold out my hand
to touch the bulging belly
of this world and it is milk
smooth, and in this bloated
moment, I know my mother is God,
and God is a mother who hides
her babies in a place so safe,
not even light can reach them.

Elizabeth Hickson lives in Brooklyn, New York, where she is currently an MFA candidate at Brooklyn College. She is also a graduate of Wake Forest University.