The culture oriented itself toward shopping The culture oriented itself toward shopping The culture invented a flat vivid world to sink into As one sinks into a bath and closes the door and runs the warm water with a Book or a glass of sharp wine Inside the white noise of water out rushes any immediate concern Some lives have been scrubbed of immediate concerns or mud or weather After work some shopping Running to the store and picking up some food Or hiring a contractor Or someone for the lawn Purchasing new clothes Which might confer some attractiveness and dignity Materials which could convey One's inner goodness, attractiveness, and taste Having the best qualities and correct values Best thoughts are elaborately patterned Worst thoughts rise up as a self-righteous ego, scarlet and furious fuming into fingers Or alternatively as a sheet of empty area Wherever the personality goes when the activity ceases When it is neither buying nor preparing for a future purchase In the car the environment is leather and black and smooth sweet odor Serenity is composed of quality materials It has contours which are a pleasure to take note of As the wishes rear up On the way to or from some shopping A little appetite leaks out So obvious in fact it need never be discussed A feeling of perpetual lack Is the water in the river we float down I flow from the lip of one day to the next As if lounging on a cool dark river that's Composed of what I might purchase In the mall the stores of horizontally stacked Into discrete dioramas of hypothetical lives I sample hypothetical lives I unwrap them from the quality tissues paper and boxy bags with hard sharp creases Black and gold and pink and peacock blue I imagine there is a certain kind of person somewhere Who wears these clothes with grace A person could exist who carries grace in the chest like a warm affectionate orb I've expected to eventually become I've been on the verge really of emerging into grace and ease Kindness effortlessness I like to be among the Everybody is carrying the fierce fire of the souls Hid with some intentional or inadvertent packaging
80 to 90 percent of my awareness 80 to 90 percent of my awareness Is a delicate ear turned gently toward my son Which means I ignore What would have previously torn me asunder You may imagine motherhood as a funnel of sand Into which one is pulled You may imagine a wrecked ship pulling the inhabitants down with her Into the water Except in this metaphor You are willingly rising yourself in sand or heavy water It is ecstasy of familial love Among the sand and water Whereby you are erased but replaced with something new Like a new skin or new eyes And there is a new creature Sleeping very gently as if in the curl of your ear Or Women create people And that is how humans continue And that is how women are laid low Torn asunder Crippled Leaking Etc Helpless to a helpless thing Threads of feeling and attention Binding or sewn Women lavish their attention Women lavish their emotion and then They do not have some left History is a 6,000 year block Inside which women are torn asunder Picture yourself in a room with smooth white walls (No windows no doors) That is the myth of motherhood It says a motherhood may be a perpetual caring Or a gradual erasing of the self Or a sacred blanket Or a devastating failure To be a mother Is to be a figure in a painting Wrapped in a sacred blanket Whatever the observer sees You, the woman in the painting, you turn your head and continue Being already busied with sheltering your small companion Into the course of his life —
EMILY BLUDWORTH DE BARRIOS is the author of Splendor, a book of poems from H_NGM_N Books, and Extraordinary Power, a chapbook from Factory Hollow Press. Her poems have most recently appeared in Sixth Finch, The Nervous Breakdown, Jellyfish, and New Delta Review. She received her MFA from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and also holds degrees from Goldsmiths College and The College of William and Mary.