In a break from my usual methods, I'm publishing this piece in draft form because I must put in the oven the turkey I should have put there two hours ago. So I may have miscounted, and I may have gone smarmy or sickly sweet, or I may have left out words or even (please, God, no) misspelled something. I shall return.
2 daughter's birthday./
3. She tells me/
5 she's thirty-eight years old. I/
8 have to do the math because it seems/
I won't have it, my girls so quickly women and I so/
21 quickly old. I inform her older sister that hereinout she will be perpetually forty and her sister perpetually thirty-seven. Those are/
34 trustworthy numbers, adult and yet youthful. Her sister, texting me, scoffs: "If I have to be in my forties, so does Jennifer," suggesting that sisterhood trumps motherhood.
My first view of her: the obstetrician/
55 and I miscommunicated; and I missed her birth. It was half an hour later when I opened my eyes to see beside the bed, in a clear plastic layette, an uncovered, naked baby girl, mouth wide open in a silent bellow, feet and hands waving madly, outraged and alone.We had spent many late nights
89 together, this girl and I, back in the day before ultrasound. A mystery baby. I referred to her as Waldo Ann for fun, and before she was born I'd lie on my side, pull the curtain back with my left hand and observe the stars, as she rocked and rolled and hiccuped contentedly. Later I would call to her ("Jennnnniferrrrr!) to see with me every brilliant sunset. She's done the same with her sons since they were toddlers. Sometimes she calls me, excitedly, to describe her personal sky.
by Mary Cartledgehayes