the louderARTS Project

Eve Stern

Eve Stern grew up in Washington, DC and Mexico. She was a member of the 1997 Boston Team at the National Poetry Slam, and was the coach of Team Ozarks in 1998 and 1999. She was the featured poet at the louderARTS Project's House of Woman series this past October. Before she began her career as a poet • featuring all over the country, inhabiting her outrage on stage, radio, television and the page • she was a community organizer for 17 years, working for everyone from the National Black Women's Health Project to the African National Congress.




Blizzards of Babies

Blizzards of babies assault me like snow --
Who could get hurt by something as
small and soft as a snowflake?
everyone says doubtfully,
when I show them the hideous scars
that aren't there:
the strollers
the diapers
the sleeping cheeks
the hands like sea fans
resting on tiny chests which
rise and fall
rapid and ragged

Mary holds babies at me
like weapons or shields
she moves away from my
piffly red-haired gossip
to the real celebrities at Starbucks
(those hordes of pink tongues)
she plucks long innocent eyelashes
one by one
and stabs me with them.

God you dress loud,
she tells me and then coos:
ooh little munchkin, how old are you?
Wouldn't you just love to live here,
she tests me,
and when I say
I'd sooner die than live in Bethlehem
she pulls out a pacifier
and fillets me with it
as if it were a Spanish fighting knife.

Seeing all these babies
makes my breasts hard with milk,
she hisses tenderly;
I must drive home and feed little Jesus.
All the way from here to Nazareth
to feed little Jesus,
she muses
fingering a curly-collared bib --
and I'm bleeding big now
I'm lying cut open on the floor
little words silhouetting my skeleton
little useless words like
the
or
and
scattered like confetti
all I have are words when
she has milk and pacifiers and little Jesus in Nazareth
and the ability to decipher just how many weeks old
that little snowflake in the stroller is
before she picks him up
to slash my face

and I try to remember
my name
and that at the rate I'm living
here, at the top of my lungs,
there will be no one
named after me
or by me
and that there is something
called choice
I have fought for since before
I can remember
there ever being snow
or this jet-head bed I've now made
that I lie in
tossing and turning
and waiting for
the moment when I
the moment when I
     
moment when I
     
     
when I
and waiting.



© Eve Stern



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