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The Child Bearers

by
 Jean, death comes close to us all,
flapping its awful wings at us
and the gluey wings crawl up our nose.
Our children tremble in their teen-age cribs, whirling off on a thumb or a motorcycle, mine pushed into gnawing a stilbestrol cancer I passed on like hemophilia, or yours in the seventh grade, with her spleen smacked in by the balance beam.
And we, mothers, crumpled, and flyspotted with bringing them this far can do nothing now but pray.
Let us put your three children and my two children, ages ranging from eleven to twenty-one, and send them in a large air net up to God, with many stamps, real air mail, and huge signs attached: SPECIAL HANDLING.
DO NOT STAPLE, FOLD OR MUTILATE! And perhaps He will notice and pass a psalm over them for keeping safe for a whole, for a whole God-damned life-span.
And not even a muddled angel will peek down at us in our foxhole.
And He will not have time to send down an eyedropper of prayer for us, the mothering thing of us, as we drip into the soup and drown in the worry festering inside us, lest our children go so fast they go.

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