After Newtown

By Laura Weeks
Dec. 14, 2012

A mother is a plate
licked clean by many mouths.
A mother is comfort, clothed
in a hundred yards of madness.

She devotes her days
to mundane tasks
like sticking contacts in a tiger’s eye,
or trading punches
with Old Man Chaos.

A mother counts:
infants’ piggies, missing buttons,
supper servings, “times I’ve told you,”
the hours – from one to five.

From school’s out ‘til lights out she sits,
her mind a shallow bowl.
She considers
the sudden resonance of empty rooms.

She fingers flatware,
calling this fork “Frederick,”
and this spoon “Ernestine,”
while laying them lovingly
to rest in coffin slots.

A mother is a sock turned inside-out,
hung out to dry.
Listless, she scours sheets, searching
for her lost child’s scent.


Laura D. Weeks is a recovering academic who moved West and moved on.  A Slavist by training with a Ph.D. from Stanford University, she now lives in Portland, Oregon, where she is an editor, translator, consecutive interpreter, and the founder of Weeks’ Wunderkinder Piano Studio.  Her literary translations have appeared in Russian Literature Triquarterly, The Literary Review, Alea, South Central Review and the new renaissance.  She co-edited and translated for the anthology Crossing Centuries:  The New Generation in Russian Poetry (Talisman House Press, 2000).  Her poetry has appeared in numerous journals including the Atlanta Review, The Comstock Review, Journal of Kentucky Studies, Passager, Pegasus, Mudfish, Nimrod, Cloudbank, The Chaffin Journal, and the new renaissance.  Her poem “What Bones Want” was a finalist for the Rash Award.  Her poem “A Hand by Any Other Name” won honorable mention in the Zero Bone poetry competition.   She is the author of two chapbooks, Deaf Man Talking, and The Mad Woman.  She is a member of the Take Five poetry troupe.