For my mother

By: Arden Yum

After Toni Morrison’s Beloved


Mother, tell me about the child in your womb.

                                               We shared water &

                                                                             blood &


                        Did you feel the chord connecting us,

                        the steady pull of heartstrings. The soft

                        strumming of the lyre stitched together

                        with sinew. What if the body is just

                        music only you & I can hear?                        


How when I was little you told me that if I prayed real hard I would get pregnant.

How I went to bed terrified that life was simmering inside of me.


            They say you release a hormone after childbirth that makes you forget the pain.

            But you remember, before the drugs. Before the doctor cut me out of you

            with his knife. The way I watch you cut stems from strawberries in your palm.

            It hurts because motherhood is the force of one body dividing in two.


The hospital gown drenched in the fluids we shared. Me in your arms.

                                                The milkflowers petaling outside the window.


                     New seeds planted into the ground.

The blood in my veins is still warm from the womb. This water is the

same water we once swam in. I drank your milk & it hardened into bone.


Nine months before I was born the orchids were blossoming. That’s when we began.