“The courage that my mother had” by Julia at her desk

Tuesday September 10, 2019
8:53pm
5 minutes
The courage that my mother had
Edna St. Vincent Millay

They all bet on her, did you know that?
She was the quietest one and they all
put down their twenty-dollar bills with
confidence. “She’s going to be last.”

When my mother was in labour with my
brother, nobody saw it coming. She is
not the kind of person to screech or
claw, but she will sit softly on the
edge of her heart being thrust into
outer space, into another dimension.

She has always been this way,
underestimated, as though physical
size were an indication of anything.
She did not complain. Not when her
head was throbbing, or her knee
threatened to make her sorry she
ever tried to walk. Not when her
knuckles furled in on themselves,
not when she was giving birth to
all three of us.

She simply did it. Quietly.
And I did not inherit that
from her.

When the nurses found out that my
mother was the first of all the
labouring mothers to deliver,
they yelled at her.
“You just lost me twenty bucks,
lady.”

“The courage that my mother had” by Sasha at the table upstairs

Tuesday September 10, 2019
12:25pm
5 minutes
The courage that my mother had
Edna St. Vincent Millay

My mother tells me that she
couldn’t have done what I’m doing

Not that anything is the same
Twenty-seven years between

what happened then
and what’s happening now

We speak of re-writing
of re-visioning

in a new tongue
built from rubble

and hope
I imagine a world in which

I do not need you
I do need you

Both are true
as this and that is

As faith and doubt are
love and rage

My mother’s courage
the bones that I build on

Flesh and sinew
teeth and tears

My mother’s courage
the rainbow prayer flags

strung up in the window
catching the wind