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  • Writer's pictureRachel Conrad Carlson

Like a Pomegranate 

Burst–like a pomegranate, like a womb, like the tomb / my neat and tidy boundaries crack wide / the seams of my heart split and seep joy / death itself defied as life keeps winning out. Burst–like the tips of my fingers where the skin stretches taut / no amount of balm can bring calm to this chaos of motherhood I prayed daily to become reality. Burst–like my expectations, my sense of accomplishment, my linear career path / 

riven by the pressures of new life, I am broken open / I am exhumed. 

From 36 until just after I turned 40, doctors lifted life out of my womb every two years / three slices deep across my abdominal muscles to excavate reluctant womb-dwellers. One babe wailing lustily and immediately / two babes rigid and silent with effort, insufficient except for the hands and machines that helped them breathe / my own body belaboring beside them until they gasped for air of their own accord.

Like so many other mothers, I give willingly but not freely / my body and spirit attest daily to the cost of this mothering life / Under the physical and emotional weight of motherhood, I am both at my largest and in my season of largesse / Two small letters separate a mentality of shame from a space of magnanimity. Largest / Largesse. I shrink inside and want to find the remnants of my former self as I size up in the dreaded jean aisle / and yet / my mothering life gifts me a sense of liberality, a generosity of spirit non-existent four years ago. 

These kids, some days I think they’ve stolen my beauty, energy, and core muscles all for themselves, replacing them with a physical heft I cannot grow accustomed to / and yet / my oldest dances her never-still fingers along my arms as she sings a silly song she made just for me / the middle one nestles into the curve between my collar bone and left shoulder, a sacred space she has carved out with the weight of her curls and her inexplicable trust in me / and the little one smiles ceaseless, gummy, toothless grins that eviscerate the boundaries of my once-small heart. And so I burst open and am made large/ made magnanimous/ made benevolent. I am made as I was meant to be.

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