A Mother's Ode to Bodily Fluids
A Mother’s Ode to Bodily Fluids
Written in Celebration of My First 10 Years of Motherhood
I used to be foolishly squeamish at snot,
But at this battle I am unvanquished.
Now I ambush it; digging my unclean fingernail into my child’s small orifice
Without fair warning to the snot – or the child –
Arrogantly victorious in what I extract,
A slimy trophy on the tip of my finger.
I used to rear back fearfully at the unwholesome smell and sight of vomit,
But now I am undaunted.
Vomit is merely the reverse of eating and can be measured as a gravitational probability.
In preparation for the assaults, I have receptacles positioned, like ready snipers,
At strategic points in the house.
I assess the gelatinous offender – for thickness, for constancy, for bravado –
And it must pass a stringent analysis in order to render itself
Worthy of my disdain.
I used to be naively incognizant of other humans’ excrement, like a pale-faced recruit,
But now I am unabashed.
With the newborn’s very first movement, it becomes
Subject to critical analysis – for color, for consistency, for commonality.
Although it has proven a formidable adversary, I fear it not.
I have disarmed it by calling it by name
(Many names, in fact, and at various stages of surprise and disappointment)
And, admittedly, in front of all sorts of company.
It is the great equalizer.
I used to be idealistically curious about earwax,
But now I am unenchanted.
I believed, romantically, that every part of the human body was deeply profound,
And connected meaningfully to God’s eternal plan for His children.
But now I believe that God made earwax for one sole purpose:
So that mothers may publically burrow the yellow foxholes
Expressly to torture and humiliate their unsuspecting children.
Seriously. That’s all I’ve got.
I used to consider blood to be scientifically fascinating,
But now I am unbent.
Blood is still my enemy – my nemesis.
How dare it trickle in front of me, how it dare it seep through my child’s flawless skin.
I have a deep-seated contempt for the smiling phlebotomist
Who, snapping rubber gloves and tourniquet with sterilized efficiency,
Deeply offends: he appropriates the precious liquid from my child
And racks the vial unceremoniously among a squadron of mediocrity.
That blood is my blood; and I will defend it
Valiantly, ferociously, relentlessly.
And I do not dare to imagine the unadulterated anguish of the mother
Who will not see her child again,
But receives, as a lily-livered consolation,
A son’s bloodstained fatigues, or a daughter’s bloodstained underwear.
No, I do not dare. The thought of it makes me come
You, who have only read about battlements and stratagems and weaponry in history books,
May argue the legitimacy of the snot, the vomit, the excrement, and earwax.
But this blood is my blood. And this love is