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3 Fantasies about my Mother - Emma Goldman-Sherman


I tell my mother the truth

she looks me in the eye

with hers soft, tearful.

My mother sees me

through a haze

of what I imagine is love

the soft-focus way

of looking at the people

who took pieces of our hearts

with which to scar themselves.

Every time she sees

my face she breathes normally.

She understands and remains

sane, there, all of her.

She does not free herself

from gravity or fall and glue

herself to the floor.

She breathes in and out

even if that's a trigger.

She breathes and sees me


Then her warm brown hand holds mine.


When I tell

my mother

what's been happening

she holds me

and rocks me

and says there there

you poor dear

I'll make it better,

Mama's here.

I love you so much.

We'll make him go away

and leave us alone.

I'll kiss all the boo-boos.

I'll wipe all your tears,

but not til after you cry them

as much as you need to

while I accept all of your difficult feelings

including your rage at me

for letting this happen.

And she is calm and strong

taking all of it, as much as

I think she needs to take,

until I feel seen and heard

believed and beloved.

And she means it.

And she does it.

And I am healed.


My mother is thin.

That's it.

The whole thing.

Beginning to end.

Top to bottom.

I must have really pissed her off.

She's banging on my kitchen window

6 floors up -- I hate it

when she claws at the ledge

I will not let her in.

She's screaming saying

you don't know what it's like!

I don't know Death either.

She gulps the air now

trying to still her hysteria.

I can't be hysterical

after a hysterectomy!

I want to tell her

she so can

but I don't reply --

it upsets her more

to be ignored.

You could have brought me back

to life, she cries. I thought she wanted

to be thin. I didn't think

she'd want to come back

if she wasn't thin. Quieting she asks

Does that mean you'll bring me back

to life? Thin? Really?

So thin, I blow her off

the window ledge

and watch her Wile E. Coyote---


Emma Goldman-Sherman's poems have been published in American Athenaeum, Oberon, Nasty Women Poetry Anthology and others. Her plays have been produced on 4 continents and include "Counting in Sha'ab" (Golden Thread, and Abraham's Daughters ( Emma earned an MFA from University of Iowa where she received a Norman Felton Award, the Richard Maibaum Award for Plays Addressing Social Justice. PERFECT WOMEN won the Jane Chambers Award. As Resident Dramaturg, she runs the WriteNow Workshop for new play development and to support female and t/gnc (she/they-identified) writers of all genres. She has taught at U of Iowa, GPTC, NYWW, and many other places. Member: The Dramatists Guild, LPTW, LMDA. Her plays are available at Tanya's Lit Clit is her most recent play being developed in collaboration with Experimental Bitch Presents.


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