Sharon Kraus


small raised surface of sear on my hand
that I hadn’t noticed for twenty years, until
my ("my") child, in his new, his childness, one day ran his finger over and
(could we talk about what This is?) over          Locus of

he likes me to wave wildly at him from across the room, Hello
to Mommy, he sings, So glad to see you!

Baruch ata Adonai, I say on Fridays
baruch ata Ada-bummy said my child
yesterday, pleased with himself,
the God I have pointed to          wrenched out
though he doesn't know that; though I cannot believe in what I name. Just like a bad play,
energetically acted. Brian trying to not laugh (it's not his lost loss)

The child pressed the button and the monitor went black
He pressed the button and I struck his fingers

wept back from the retreating mother
                                                                            Locus of           source of

grinding the seeds with the stone pestle
but they don't dissolve to a solution.          they permeate. they spread.

odor of : thrusting away my child by his shoulders
inside my throat, thunder
Katie says it's all a matter of degree          but
I can't keep the window closed; it keeps springing

unclasp : locus of source of (daily, forcing himself awake so as to hunt for the embrace.
as though aloneness might be healed)          but it's gone
now all there is is the weeping for it

he kept touching my hand
memorizing the site of the mother

on phoning my husband about groceries I receive a set of tones
then more tones (Honey, hello? Hello, honey? the child mimics with his ringy phone); the click.
that night the husband, empty-armed: I can’t be bothered
to answer the phone, he says, taking out his pocketwatch

the child remembers what has been asked of him:
sobs "I'm not whining, Mommy"
has learned how to spell NO          sometimes using the zero

when he touched his fingertip to the absented pain I understood
he would begin to love me. Me, waving wildly, No, go back!

at the center is the scar of the absent stalk
which had joined us, initially
                  natal navel          wrenched free.          at the body's
                  core,          whorl, to remember me by, and at the underside of that, the knot.

Not that that one can be helped.           Oh, I get it.

Having spotted the hole in my tights
he pats the bare knee place: Mommy’s leg?
as in, Are you okay? Soon he will

be helpful.
as though able to ease

                  Sometimes I pick him up, to rock him in our chair;
                  sometimes I can't bear another minute

One of my current paying jobs involves work on a textbook to ensure that
terminal punctuation of each element is treated consistently



This poem came out of notes I was keeping, and it arose over the course of a month; assembling it felt like watching a photographic image emerge very slowly in a developing pan. I was rereading some old Julia Kristeva books as well, which probably accounts for some of the poem's language.