by Maxine Kumin

Page 4

It occurred to me reading that poem that often we say the poet has one song and sings it over and over. Well, I think it's certainly true that poets build on their own obsessions, and as I was reading about that dream of the origins of the baby, I remembered this earlier poem. This is from Our Ground Time Here Will Be Brief, which I wrote as a poem for my mother on her eighty-fourth birthday and it too . . . I like to call this my sex misinformation poem.


I am born at home
the last of four children.
The doctor brings me as promised
in his snap-jawed black leather satchel.

He takes me out in sections
fastens limbs to torso
torso to neck stem
pries Mama's navel open
and inserts me, head first.

Chin back, I swim upward
up the alimentary canal
bypassing mouth and nose holes
and knock at the top
of her head to be let out
wherefore her little bald spot.

Today my mother is eighty-two
splendidly braceleted and wigged.
She had to go four times to the well
to get me.

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