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Contemplations of Motherhood

By Holly Radestock, Polyphony Volume 5 Issue 1. First published on 7th of March 2023.


“The Cradle” – Berthe Morisot, 1872


You are the shape I made you: love teaches love;

a fragile mirror’s reflection of all I am and could have been.

I am writing to you from a body that used to be yours,

protection against the tempests outside of this home.


Brought into being through a pomegranate ripped open,

I cannot turn water into wine but

you can mar supple flesh with bite marks, suckle my sweet milk.

All of me is all for you, will what I have to give be enough?


I pledge to guide you through warring winds;

to be the dawn on your worst nights,

soothe your pain, soak up salt-water stains from your cheeks.

My love for you is a compass.


I am not a praying woman. My knees do not bend

at the foot of any cross. But by God’s grace I have found myself

desperately murmuring pleas to keep you safe from harm.

I wake with my hands clasped.


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