My Mother’s Body

My mother does not look
at herself in the mirror

Her eyes wander as she dresses,
sliding off her abdomen
that droops, fat
resting atop her dormant uterus,
hidden by a stretched
belly button.

She won’t glance at her thighs,
dimpled and plump
beneath each hip, streaked by puffy lines,
faded purple and blue.  

Both fleshy breasts are already hidden,
swollen nipples
tucked away.
Her gaze remains unwavering
on her face, 
peering from the spot she has wiped
clear of condensation. 

When she is clothed, she will return
from the cracked bathroom door,
smiling while her eyes wash over me,

I do not tell her,
that they have found that a child’s cells
migrate through the mother,
long after her body becomes two.
Settling themselves in brain, blood, and bones.
I do not ask her if she knows,
we are still sharing




Driving in winter with the windows down
I can’t hear,
the wind a shocking testament to my skin
of the land I carve through for the first time,
the grass wavering with my breath.




I sit in my mother’s lap
nodding off,
her fingers in my hair
unweaving each curl
as my warm ears catch scraps
of stories wafting from her lips.

She sings me to sleep, 
nails drifting circles
along my spine,
nightshirt pulled high
each finger cool and soft,
her palms the width of my back.

She holds my hand,
every knuckle skinnier than mine
but so many freckles,
I dab at the veins
twirl the two wedding rings,
pull at the excess wrinkles of skin.

Her age is in her hands,
and I am afraid
I will forget
what they feel like. 






Julie Greenough is a student pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree in English with a focus in poetry. She was born in the Appalachian mountains of Virginia and currently resides in the piedmont region of the state. She strives to capture the unsaid and the forgotten in her writing.