24 9 / 2012
My earliest memories of my mother
are sunburned. Pink cheeks.
Braids. Dirt under fingernails.
Before me, she was already self-conscious
about her stomach. Then I was made and I was too stubborn
to turn upside down inside her and they had to
cut her open and pull me out.
I learned how to put on lipstick
by watching her get ready for work
in the morning.
I learned how to criticize myself
by watching her cluck at the mirror,
swatting her hair down like a bad dog.
I am sorry for the white worm
I left across your middle.
She believes my sisters and I chose her
to be our mother. Handpicked her
from a basket of others.
This one. This one will teach us the most.
Learn to cherish this vessel,
the tired music of the body.
Let the skin be witness.
To grow. To grow.
I am standing in front of a mirror.
I am insulting myself out of habit
and suddenly my mother stops me,
“don’t say that, Sierra. If you think you are ugly,
you are creating that ugliness inside you.”
I am thankful for the bed in your belly.
I was a weary traveler.
My mother has a birthmark
the size of a grapefruit on her hip.
It is red and exploding.
I can only imagine"
when she undressed for my father
the first time, it was like
watching the sun come up.
Evolution in Nine Parts
by Sierra DeMulder
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