Kate McMeans’ beautiful poem captures a single, precious moment in which a new mother is able to shed labels and expectations and be herself.
The moon pulls herself from my roof
to my window, her fingers
peeking in the velvet room soft with dark,
ocean waves, and lullabies.
The baby sleeps milk drunk, but her hands, relentless
as morning glory vines, rise despite themselves. I cradle myself against her––
become bridge from consciousness to slumber.
Swift, confident on the transfer from bed to crib,
feet down first so not to startle the mind––
a kind betrayal. No blankets allowed so
I tuck her into my motherhood, slip it off
like a dress. My scent mixes with whispered prayers:
Please watch over her, love her as I do, please, do not let her wake
in the moonlight for the night is mine, and I wish to partake in these selfish pleasures.
I clock out with a click of the door.
My breasts soft, they sigh out a day’s worth of suckling,
turn from function to form.
I draw crescent smiles
along the curves of my body, my breath swells like a tide.
We settle into the depth of the night.
An occasional cry
from the voice box latched to my hip and I freeze,
the glow of the fridge
a headlight. But we sense the safety in silence.
Secure a single strawberry, slide to the sink.
The cool water runs over us and we are consumed
by teeth, by delight, by the sweet moment where we are nobody.
Only a nobody can press her toes to the tile
and sneak a strawberry under the stars. Orion shifts his belt
but we pay him no mind. We are daughters of Diana, the bear in our belly
asleep only because we will her to–
I shift the kitchen blinds, nestle beside my moon shadow and the lot of us howl; the shadow,
the bear, the mother, the strawberry. Our cries echo
freedom in the soft blue light. We separate
and solidify. I sandwich myself between
duvet and sheets, beside my baby’s sweet breath lullaby.
I surrender myself to sleep as the moon sets herself below the skyline.
About Kate McMeans
Kate is a Northern Californian poet. She received her B.A. in English at the University of California Berkeley. Kate makes sense of her world through poetry, often examining her experiences with mental illness, relationships, and recently becoming a mother. She occasionally updates her Instagram, littleinksplatter, but would much rather be squatting over a tide pool or walking amongst giants.