The downward turning touch
the cry of time
fire falling without sound
plunge my hand in the wound
children marching and dying
all that I do is a crime
because I do not reach
their mouths silently crying
my boychild reaches with his mouth
it is easy, being a mother
his skin is tender and soft
kisses stitch us together
we love as long as we may
then come years without kisses
when he will turn away
not to waste breath
when I too will fall
embracing a pillow at night
touching the stone of exile
reaching my hand to death
From The Mother/Child Papers by Alicia Suskin Ostriker. Copyright © 2009 by Alicia Suskin Ostriker. Used by permission of University of Pittsburgh Press. All rights reserved.

Poems by This Author

Birdcall by Alicia Suskin Ostriker
Tuwee, calls a bird near the house
Demeter to Persephone by Alicia Suskin Ostriker
I watched you walking up out of that hole
Insomnia by Alicia Suskin Ostriker
But it's really fear you want to talk about
psalm by Alicia Suskin Ostriker
I am not lyric any more

Further Reading

Related Poems
by Beth Bachmann
Poems About Mothers
Disciplines [If there is prayer, there is a mother kneeling]
by Dawn Lundy Martin
Kaddish, Part I
by Allen Ginsberg
a woman peeling apples, with a small child
by Pattie McCarthy
by Carmen Giménez Smith
by Catherine Barnett
Getting Close
by Victoria Redel
by Francisco Aragón
by Tony Hoagland
Mama, Come Back
by Nellie Wong
Measurement Fable
by Rusty Morrison
by James Richardson
by Lola Ridge
by Herman de Coninck
Mother Ann Tells Lucy What Gave Her Joy
by Arra Lynn Ross
Mother o' Mine
by Rudyard Kipling
Mother's Day
by David Young
My Mother on an Evening in Late Summer
by Mark Strand
My Mother Was No White Dove
by Reginald Shepherd
My Mother Would Be a Falconress
by Robert Duncan
My Mother's Funeral
by Ira Sadoff
by William Meredith
Picking Up
by Evelyn Duncan
Poems about Motherhood
by E. Ethelbert Miller
by Hiromi Itō
Rock Me to Sleep
by Elizabeth Akers Allen
She Leaves Me Again, Six Months Later
by Collier Nogues
The Player Queen
by W. B. Yeats
The Routine Things Around the House
by Stephen Dunn
The Visit
by Jason Shinder
They Call This
by C. K. Williams
To My Mother
by Edgar Allan Poe
To My Mother
by Christina Rossetti
To My Mother
by Robert Louis Stevenson
To My Mother Waiting on 10/01/54
by Teresa Carson
Untitled [A house just like his mother's]
by Gregory Orr
Wedding Cake
by Naomi Shihab Nye
With Child
by Genevieve Taggard
[Sonnets are full of love, and this my tome]
by Christina Rossetti
Poems about Regret
by Gerald Stern
Dream of the Evil Servant
by Reetika Vazirani
Household Mechanics
by Sarah Mangold
Why Regret?
by Galway Kinnell