Mother Instinct by Kathryn Dillard

11/30/16 05:19:55AM
5 posts


To be a scorpion, carrying my brood on my back

for 10 to 20 days until their exoskeleton hardens

and they make their way into the world

with enough venom to kill an army

To be a human, carrying my brood in my uterus

for 280 days until they emerge naked and screaming

into a world composed of greed, conflict and pain

with seven reflexes, nothing more

I sit here and hold my growing belly in my hands,

singing to myself more than the fetus inside of me,

reassuring myself that I am armed to defend her

with fierce wisdom, devotion and love

yet after spending four days compiling a registry

of necessary items for the baby, a list of 99 items

for the first few months of infancy alone,

I wonder if evolution is driving me insane

Granted, I would never eat my baby for food

like a scorpion would if she was starving,

nor would I ever deny her of breast milk,

but how did mothers do it before registries?

The cleaning, feeding, nursing,

engaging, stimulating, sleeping,

teething, spitting up, crying

bonding, clothing, survival?

What was child rearing like

before companies gave us choices

between bottles, cribs and diapers

that have us questioning our instincts?

What was the mother instinct like

before we resigned ourselves

to handheld devices, sleep aids

brightly colored cloth and animals on parade?

Creator, if it’s alright with you,

can you please let me be a scorpion

in my next life on earth, just so

motherhood is less complicated

And yes, I know I will be feared

by all humanity and even my kin

but at least the only tools I will need

are my back, my claws, my instinct