“Do you do anything besides…” He gestures to my baby boy . . . “Well, Fuck Face,” I tell him “I’m a professor here too like you . . .
Silence Can Be a PlanA plan to say I am a mother Become small At first I do this to myself I go about my life to become A mother my mother never was Not selfish and gone But a good wife and mom To be there, I had to become nowhere Gertrude Stein’s Oakland full of Emily Dickenson I-am-nobody-who-are-you emptiness Women poets know all about the diminishing Maybe it’s my bloodline to England Where the word for mother also means silence Mum’s the word and all that Yes, silence can be a plan Motherhood at the core of who I am Day one in poetry school I bring my infant son to the welcome There are introductions The teacher running the show Is a man who writes fiction about men who write fiction “And what about you?” he says “Do you do anything besides…” He gestures to my baby boy As I rock the stroller like the ocean rocks a boat His question diminishes what I do As a mother As a poet And yet his question is not the truth of how it feels To make a real thing To hold out my hand and say I made this “Well, Fuck Face,” I tell him “I’m a professor here too like you. I’ve published a book about a valley A thirsty land hidden behind immense peaks Huge mountains that steal all the rain and thunder So the valley becomes desert A still beautiful slit of shadowed stories. And I have another one of these in kindergarten. Suck on that!” Each word echoes inside my skull Each word swallowed up In silence that speaks for me I am mum to him Female poets, I later learn Choose not to have babies Maybe for fear Children will drain poetic genius right out of our titties For fear we’ll become poetry moms For fear my words, by sifting through my motherhood Will become a silly kind of trinket craft To pass each idle moment between a child’s needs. So there’s a ban on full wombs No one told this rule to Adrienne Rich Mother of three Poet with awards and accolades too numerous to recite. I hang onto the memory of her smile After a reading at poetry school When she touches my hand And nods Yes Yes you can use my voice Yes you can make your own with it Yes silence can be a plan A plan to use all my body parts My mind My mother mouth My womb My middle finger All I am expands into an infinite cosmos of possibilities Untethered Undiminished Loud In this new reality No one asks women what they are besides… In this new universe What we choose for our bodies feeds our words It’s understood Silence can be a plan to make noise Listen up.
Cartoonist, poet, author of A Land Between, Rebecca Fish Ewan just founded Plankton Press to celebrate micro hybrid nonfiction and publishes her zines, GRAPH(feeties) and Tiny Joys. Her cartoon/verse memoir ms. of a childhood best friendship recalls the tragic magic of seventies Berkeley.
Twit/Igram: @rfishewan Website: http://www.rebeccafishewan.com