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   b e c o m i n g    t h e    m o t h e r
"The shamans turn themselves into birds; the tumblers into serpents; the madmen into stones." CatherineClement

--- K I M I K O   H A H N

She became a sink.
She became a blind.
She became a styrofoam coffee cup.
She became a ball point pen.
She became the breeze through the door's splinters.


She became the mother who was at work at work, at work at home and at work at the shore so her children never saw her without a pencil tucked behind her ear.

She became the mother who copy-edited at a tony house before marrying and quitting that nonsense.

She became the mother who began with her own father father father.

She became the mother tattooed with versions of virgins.

She became the mother who never gave birth, never adopted, never kidnapped and whose biological clock has been diffused.

She became the mother she thought she had had.

She became the Other.

She became the mother who drank.

She became mother of her girlfriend's child.

She became the mother of any man who stepped into the caffeine of her madness.

She became the mother of betrayal.

She became the mother who died in a hit-and-run.

She became the mother, 120 years old, who eats a pound of chocolate a week.

She became the mother who is becoming. In fact, stunning.

* She had forgotten how to speak especially to her husband who for a dozen years had been at most the mother she thought she had had and had before her sister was born. He had adorned her. He had desired her desire. He had honored her words and even liked her voice at a mic or in bed when the shade was drawn to the draft blowing from the limbs outside to limbs inside. She forgot. Her tongue she slept even when her mind sprinted. Her teeth locked. Her lips felt pasted shut. When had he become not her mother or had become her mother who had left her so alone when the baby cried? When had his heart become that heart with its familiar exit to other narratives rejecting even the whorls of her offerings?

* The daughter writes a story for the teacher and for her mother who is a poet. The story is about a neighbor boy and girl whose parents all die suddenly on an afternoon of marketing. The story traces the adventures of the two orphans who search for someone to adopt them. After circumnavigation they look up the boy's uncle in Canton who has also died but his wife takes them in as her own. This is a true story of her story.

* She became the mother who refused uncommon misery for common unhappiness.*

She became the mother who taught herself how to read and was later tenured at a university where she fucked the cannon with great pleasure.


How do daughters rehearse departure? Iin letters to ungrateful boys, in dresses too expensive for papa, in swimsuits too small for comfort, in baking breads, in "achievement tests"? In speaking to friends about bleeding?


She became the mother heating stones to tuck at the foot of her own bed for the time being.

© crossconnect 1995-1998 |
published in association with the |
university of pennsylvania kelly writers house |