Four Poems by Tina Parker

Photo by Megan Stearns

Photo by Megan Stearns

STOP

 

No we’re not playing baby any more

Get up

You can walk

Use big girl words

 

Sit down or you’re not getting dessert

You have a napkin right there

Why are you wiping your mouth with your sleeve

 

Why are you doing that

Please let me eat

I need my arm

You’re hanging on it

 

Stop kicking her

You’re not going to bite your sister

We don’t hit

 

I don’t know why I plan things for you to do with your friends when you act like this

If you want to hear the song stop talking

Leave her alone

 

Just close your mouth and be quiet

I’ll tell you when to come out

I’m not ready to see you

 

We’re going to turn that off in a minute

You have five more minutes

No there are no more minutes it’s time to go

Come on I’m leaving

 

Just a minute

Get your hands off me

I don’t like the hitting hands

Use your words

 

No I can’t

You know how to put them on yourself

It makes my back hurt

Because I’m mean

 

 

 

HER FIRST YEAR

 

In the early months,

it is suckle and sleep,

suckle and sleep.

We tickle her feet

to keep her awake,

to be sure she has enough.

 

At the half-year mark,

it is suckle and play.

She bobs on,

and off.

So newly aware

of her world

she must nurse

in the dark,

on an island only

we can rock to.

 

Thank God her teeth

come late.

I hold her tight

to fight the pain

when she hooks

them in, my blood

on her lips.

 

At one year,

a final binge

like she knows

it will end.

She’ll be okay,

my husband pats her back.

 

But it’s me

I worry about.

It’s my breasts,

how they lump

and leak

and throb.

And see how

she plays

and laughs

and asks

 

for her cup

when I need her

to remember

my body

in hers. Please,

 

tell me

she will remember

the days,

the hours,

the minutes

I was enough.

 

 

 

MY FERTILITY DOCTOR, SHE IS A GENTLE GOD

 

who gives out babies

except one day

she has a resident-in-training

 

              will it be okay

              if he examines you

 

and too quick the KY-jelly coated stick

is in and he whips it around like he’s digging

a hole

 

               don’t forget there’s a person

               on the other side of that

 

don’t

forget

 

he slows and the screen lights up

she counts eggs

she writes how many

and on which side

he yanks the stick out

before I can say

 

stop

I want a baby

the normal way

 

 

 

I AM JUST BEGINNING TO SWEAR OFF RESTAURANTS WITH INDOOR PLAYGROUNDS

 

when a woman turns in her booth

she says

we lost a son

he battled cancer twelve years

they just kept finding it

but you do the best you can

day by day

you enjoy them.

 

 

 

 

Tina Parker lives and writes in Berea, Kentucky. Her poems have been published in Appalachian HeritageStill: The JournalRattle, and PMS: poemmemoirstory. Learn more about her life and work at www.tina-parker.com.

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