“What Do We Know of Mothers?” – By Annie Marhefka

May 20, 2022

What do we know of

motherhood when we don’t

even know how it shaped

our own mothers,

changed their peripheral views,

altered their hips and dreams and

ovarian nightmares?

We know them only as

our mamas, not the women

who existed before.

“Oh your mother, that one,”

people might say, as if

that other woman she used to be

was so mysterious, so enchanting.

I could never have met her

or her ambition, her dreamy

teenage eyes and her slim waistline.

They are strangers to me in this

life from which I was birthed from her

suffering and shaking and

passion.

I see only the tired eyes,

the wanting arms extended.

I feel only the touch of gentle

hands on my forehead, searching

for fever, for permission to worry, 

for connection when we’re no longer

tethered by umbilical cord.

Dad says she was stunning,

hitchhiking down the street in only

a little red bikini, all wet hair and a thumb

pointed to his pickup truck.

I can’t imagine this woman I know

as the bender of rules; she is only the maker

of rules, of my body, of me.

In life, I did the opposite

of what she told me to do.

It is this game we play,

mothers and daughters:

her offering me her wisdom,

me trying to prove I was different,

break down walls in my own way.

In death, I wanted nothing more

than to be everything she wanted

me to be, do everything she

would have told me to do.

Can we wish to be good mothers

both and in spite of, and because of,

our own mothers?


Annie Marhefka is a writer in Baltimore, Maryland, where she spends her time writing, boating on the Chesapeake Bay, and hiking with her kiddos. Her creative nonfiction and poetry have been featured in Versification, Coffee + Crumbs, Sledgehammer Lit, Capsule Stories, Remington Review, and The South Florida Poetry Journal, among others. Annie is the Executive DirectorAnnie Marhefka is a writer in Baltimore, Maryland, where she spends her time writing, boating on the Chesapeake Bay, and hiking with her kiddos. Her creative nonfiction and poetry have been featured in Versification, Coffee + Crumbs, Sledgehammer Lit, Capsule Stories, Remington Review, and The South Florida Poetry Journal, among others. Annie is the Executive Director at Yellow Arrow Publishing, a Baltimore-based nonprofit supporting and empowering women writers, and is working on a memoir about mother/daughter relationships.

You can find Annie’s writing on Instagram @anniemarhefka, Twitter @charmcityannie, and anniemarhefka.com.

SHARE THIS POst

Add A Comment

VIEW THE COMMENTS

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.