Jul/Aug 2020  •   Poetry

Raising Mothers

by Bridget Bell

Raising Mothers

A bad way to raise mothers is with fliers
taped to doctor walls promising an empowered
peace-filled birth. Each night, a choir
of monitor lights flash the mother's face and she cowers

convinced that she'll never understand
how to quiet the child. Sunlight halts behind
the curtains. She is lost inside the land
of it makes no difference if it's day or night.

A bad way to raise mothers is to deify
Everything Baby, to say what a blessing,
then hand over the flailing fists, to deny
that motherhood is hard as fuck: festering

fetid pile of bibs and burp rags,
the bottle's milk-film, registry must-haves:
wipe warmer, perpetual smile, stocked diaper bag,
love every moment, clip-on car mirror because the mother

must always watch the baby. Then it is night and I am alone.
Then it is night and then it is night again.