by | Apr 11, 2023 | CNF, Issue Thirty-Two

In the backseat, we fumble.
“Like this?”
“How about there?”
“Will it fit?”
“Maybe this angle?”
Finally, success!
The carseat’s installed.


Elbow under the bathtub faucet 
Temperature just warmer than my skin
I flip the drain switch, add organic bubbles
And look at red, yellow, blue painted handprints 
on white-tiled walls
Before placing my toddler in the water.

So far from a college New Year’s party
Where a sexy med student suggested 
bubble bath and finger paints
at his apartment and we played 
red, yellow, blue painted handprints 
on necks, stomachs, breasts, sheets
unconcerned with getting burned


Hand holding. Kissing. First base. Second base. Everything but intercourse. Intercourse. Condoms. The morning after pill. The pill.  No pill. Thermometers. Calendar tracking. A doctor’s appointment. Nine months of doctor’s appointments. A baby! Another baby! Nursing and snuggles and cuddles and how the hell do I get this baby out of my bed so I can sleep? And business trips and IUDs and vasectomies and driving children to activities. When do we just hold hands?


At the dinner table
“Mommy, where do babies come from?”
The older child says. The younger looks at me, too.
Their Dad, across the table, eyes wide, staring straight in my direction.
I explain penis entering vagina and sperm.
The kids gag on their spaghetti
Screw their noses up
“Ew. You and Daddy did that?”
I laugh.
“At least twice.”


Reading my high school senior’s
Application essays
They’re so close to living in dorms
With beds, and bathrooms, and elevators
And friends with backseats
And bubble bath
And fingerpaints

My stomach clenches
Can I get my babies back in my bed
Where I know they’re safe
So I can sleep.
Do parents ever sleep?

I suppose this is the price 
of independence.
Read more CNF | Issue Thirty-Two

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