• Sarah Viren

The Natural Order


The Natural Order

My maternal love is not

me saying Tuesdays

are the hardest because I don’t

see you for five hours and

can think only about seeing you

and your slack cheeks

and your uncertain neck.

It is not me talking

with other mothers at the park

while you build a sand world

beside us about what if one day

you were in school somewhere

and a man burst in, gun drawn,

aiming at your face.

My maternal love

is more like a shoe box

than a picture frame

by which I mean that my love

is practical and meant to store

things that are practical too

like that time you waved hello

to the moon or that day you pulled

an eggplant from the fridge

and cradled it in your arms

like I once cradled you in my arms

and began to shush it softly

softer than I ever shushed you

until somewhere in your eyes it fell asleep.

Sarah Viren's book MINE won the River Teeth book prize and is forthcoming in 2018. Her poetry and prose have appeared in AGNI, The Iowa Review, Guernica, and elsewhere. She teaches at Arizona State University. More about her at sarahviren.wordpress.com.

Image courtesy of Kai Schreiber