Strategies for Mothers in the Age of This Age

Catherine Pierce

For one, skip past “Sloop John B“—that flute
might send anyone right into the abyss.Stop ferrying errant house spiders to the yard—
let’s not waste our ache-space on arachnids.If there’s a solar eclipse, stay in. It’s too much
to watch the erosion of light we thought was certain.But let’s not call it terrariumed. We’ll still hold
the same escalator railings, ride in the samecommuter trains, carry the same signs and groceries
and guilt. We’ll just snag a little less. Mothers,I know we used to wander our dark like spelunkers.
I know we had head lamps and ropes. Like batswe knew the pings of our limits, and unlike bats,
pushed past them. But now with the news alertsbuzzing. Now with that starving polar bear.
Now with the “Gun-Free Zone” signs on the doorsof the kindergarten. Now with everything balanced
on the thinnest of threads that we know not to testfor tension. So what if we armor ourselves
with horn sections? So what if we recite state capitalsin the shower’s echo chamber, or avoid the sad
billboard eyes of the boat donation girl? So whatif sometimes we set down the armfuls of nails
and brambles, shut off the radio? We knowthe shutting off is so we can listen. We know
the setting down is so we can pick up and carry.

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Catherine Pierce’s most recent book is The Tornado Is the World (Saturnalia, 2016). Her work has appeared in The Best American Poetry, American Poetry Review, and elsewhere. She co-directs the Creative Writing program at Mississippi State University.

Five Points

Vol. 18, No. 3

Atlanta, Georgia

Georgia State University

Editors: David Bottoms and Megan Sexton
Poetry Consultant: Edward Hirsch
Fiction Consultant: Richard Bausch

==Since the publication of its inaugural issue in 1996, Five Points has become one of this country’s best literary magazines. Published three times a year by Georgia State University’s Department of English and Creative Writing Program, each issue

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