MOM Art Annex: Exhibition & Education Center

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MAMA 32 – Summer Art [LINK]

Artist: Sophia Marinkov Jones 
 
The works are from a series that reflect different moments in a day as a mother and child interact. These drypoints required firm pressure to engrave lines into perspex sheet before the inking and printing processes. This firm contact is essential for the lines I make, which are scratched or rubbed into a surface.

Since the birth of her son, Sophia’s work has explored how identity is forged through family experience. She often makes drawings on the floor with her son present and his energy drives the process. This dynamic developed thanks to Procreate Project’s Mother House, where she was invited to work alongside her son in a shared studio space. She is interested in the gestures that are exchanged between mother and child and the deeper psychological impression (and disturbance) that a child makes on an adult and how this is managed and returned back to the child. Her line works to express the immediacy of a moment and rising emotion, and to capture these tangled states before they are lost.

Previous works explored landscape and conservation. She studied Architecture at The Bartlett, UCL and has an MA in Printmaking from the Royal College of Art, London.

MAMA_Logo_2015

The Museum of Motherhood, the ProCreate Project, the Mom Egg Review, and the Mother Magazine are pleased to announce the launch of a bi-monthly international exchange of ideas and art. M.A.M.A. will celebrate the notion of being “pregnant with ideas” in new ways. This scholarly discourse intersects with the artistic to explore the wonder and the challenges of motherhood. Using words and art to connect new pathways between the creative, the academic, the para-academic, the digital, and the real, as well as the everyday: wherever you live, work, and play, the Art of Motherhood is made manifest. Download the Press Release here or read about updated initiatives#JoinMAMA  @ProcreateProj  @MOMmuseum @TheMomEgg

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MAMA 31: Mother’s Diary, Mothertime ‘Let Down’ & MOM EGG Review Reading in NYC [LINK]

Marketa Senkyrik
mother’s diary (for Kaya)
2017-2018
hand-bound diary / drawings – fine-liner, watercolour crayons, crayons

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My mum has plenty of photo albums – one from each holiday, one from each Christmas… When I am visiting my parents, we often look at the photos together.
I like to draw diaries. They are a bit like photo albums – they bring back memories.
This is a very special one.
It’s for Kaya.
To remind her how it was when she was growing inside me, passing through my body to this world and living as one with me in the very beginning of life
(as those things usually get forgotten with time).
About the artist:
Czech born and a world citizen, living and working in London since 2013. Marketa studied book-design in Ostrava in the Czech Republic and fine arts in Clermont-Ferrand in France before she moved to London and started to work as a bookbinder. She is currently enjoying some time off with her daughter, co-runs an independent non-profit gallery 139artspace and is developing her own and collaborative artistic projects.

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Robin Silbergleid

From ‘Mother Time’: Let Down in The Mom Egg Review

All these dark days and white nights, every two hours, the milk lets down. She feels the rhythm in her breasts: suck, suck, swallow. Sometimes it comes too fast, pools the side of his mouth, collects in the fat folds of his chin. Sometimes he falls asleep there, with the nipple in his mouth.

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A diaper change. An attempt at a nap. At the hospital they said to record it all. Left breast, right breast, urine output, stool. 5 ml pumped milk offered via silver spoon. He’s so small, fetal with wrinkled skin, he can’t stay awake; she rubs an ice cube against his foot. He wakes cold, angry: sucks.

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When babies are this small it is possible to weigh them before and after a feed and know precisely how much milk they have taken in. They weigh him at the hospital daily and then twenty-four hours later, then forty-eight, then wait a whole week. When she brings him home, he is four pounds eight ounces, his wrist the size of her thumb. He looks like a doll in his car seat; even the preemie clothes don’t fit.

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In the news, she reads that a baby died of dehydration because the mother didn’t know she wasn’t supplying enough milk; she said she fed her child around the clock and he screamed when taken from the breast.

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In this never-ending now, the mother puts the baby to her breast. He sucks, swallows. The present is a mouthful of milk. In his belly, proteins break down to digest. Nutrients travel his blood stream: calcium, DHA, Vitamin D. Their bodies share time and space, linked by mother’s milk the way they were once linked by the placenta. Infants who are breastfed adjust their body temperature and heart rate according to their mothers’. Their body clocks sync: mother time. Her body thins while he grows.

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Another check mark on the log: wet diaper, dirty diaper, feed. +

If the baby sleeps: dishes. If the baby sleeps: diapers. If the baby sleeps: email. If the baby sleeps: blog post. If the baby sleeps: bathtub. If the baby sleeps: laundry. If the baby refuses: rock him. If the baby refuses: swaddle him, swing him, snuggle him. If the baby refuses: try the crib, the car seat, the bed with you beside him. Give him a new diaper. Give him your left breast. Give him your right. Count the hours. Count the hours. Count the hours.

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If there are 60 minutes in an hour and 168 hours in a week, 52 weeks in a year, how many minutes of infancy, of toddlerhood? How many spent in the rocking chair, or pacing with a baby strapped to the chest, how many in the pediatrician’s waiting room, washing the spare parts of a breast pump, the innards of baby bottles? How many on the basic tasks of feeding, diapering, bathing? How many getting to and from, pushing a stroller up a hill? She’s walked when she needed to drink, walked when she needed to pee. Her legs and arms are spindly. Somehow, minutes pass; somehow, she has become mother. Her breasts swell and spurt; she feels the milk let down as the baby wakes, hungry.

Robin Silbergleid is the author of Texas Girl and The Baby Book. When she’s not teaching or writing, you might find her puttering in her kitchen; her kids eat a lot of banana muffins.

SPECIAL MOM EGG REVIEW READING ON JUNE 2nd in New York!

Sixteen Already?

We’re excited to be celebrating our 16th year of publication with a reading at Poets House featuring contributors to MER Vol. 16: Mothers Work/ Mothers Play. We couldn’t have gotten to this point without the support of many people. Thank you to our editors, editorial readers, volunteers and contributors for helping us publish the finest writing about motherhood. Especially, thank you to you, our readers! We wouldn’t be here without your support. We hope to continue presenting fine work for years to come.

We’d love it if you were able to come and celebrate with us on June 2nd. Ticket link is here.

Looking forward to a fabulous event!

MAMA_Logo_2015

The Museum of Motherhood, the ProCreate Project, the Mom Egg Review, and the Mother Magazine are pleased to announce the launch of a bi-monthly international exchange of ideas and art. M.A.M.A. will celebrate the notion of being “pregnant with ideas” in new ways. This scholarly discourse intersects with the artistic to explore the wonder and the challenges of motherhood. Using words and art to connect new pathways between the creative, the academic, the para-academic, the digital, and the real, as well as the everyday: wherever you live, work, and play, the Art of Motherhood is made manifest. Download the Press Release here or read about updated initiatives#JoinMAMA  @ProcreateProj  @MOMmuseum @TheMomEgg

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M.A.M.A. 30 – Ching Ching Cheng & Jennifer Stewart Fueston [LINK]

Art by Ching Ching Cheng

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About the artist:

Ching Ching Cheng was born in Taiwan and immigrated to the United States fifteen years ago. She received her BFA from Art Center College of Design. Ching had co-curated an exhibition “The Lanuguage of Perpetual Conditions” at California State University Los Angeles in 2016. Ching exhibited at LACMA Rental and Sales Gallery, Chinese American Museum, Craft and Folk Art Museum, 21c Museum, colleges, universities and art fairs through out the United States, and also had solo exhibitions in Taiwan and China. She attended an artist-in-residency program at 943 Studio in Kunming, China in 2011. She taught lectures and workshops at college, University, museum, non-profit organization, and private art center. She received grants in 2011, in 2015 from art and cultural center in Taiwan, and in 2018 from the city of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. Ching currently lives and works in Altadena, California. https://www.chingchingcheng.com

Letting go series and Build series

In my work, I am interested in the relationship between identities and spaces. The physical environment and location, along with the cultural, social, economic and political aspects of space fascinate me. In my own practice, I question how identities are defined through space, and what the notion and ideology of identity means in relation to space.

Letting Go series

As a first generation immigrant from Taiwan, married with two young mixed-race children, I am often being judged by the look and color of my kids in relation to mine, and this made me question my identity as well as my children’s identity in relation to its space. Space is the product of relations, and is always in the process of becoming. How I perceive my own identity in the space I created, versus how others perceive my identity in their space. In my most recent photography series, I have included my children as part of my process and practice where I explore “mothering spaces”. I started to create different environmental spaces as sculptures, installations, and photography. Having children has propelled me to question what an identity is and to work and practice more as part of my daily routine.

Adapting, resisting, transforming, and accepting are the nature of the “in-between” stages, and this process of progression has become an important focus of my work. I went to Mainland China in 2012 for the first time for a three-months artist-in-residency. This was my first time living in China and reliving in an Asian country after living in the United States for almost ten years. That experience allowed me to witness how my identity went through stages of change, and experience the process of in-between. Even though I am Chinese, and I have Chinese features, I didn’t feel like I belonged there in the beginning. Oftentimes people carry their own set of cultures and identities when they migrate, and it is inevitable that they have to adjust this “carry on” within the new environment, and also change and adjust the way they live with new environments throughout different stages and events of their lives. While on residency in China, I underwent the process of “in-between” the transition of identities, I changed the way I speak to how the locals speak I started to use the words and sentences they use. As a result of these relocating adjustments, a distinct new identity was established in the new space. Read more at Procreate Project [Link}

POETRY: Taking the Baby to See Rothko at the National Gallery

By Jennifer Stewart Fueston
Fifteen minutes before closing seems like more time
than we’ll need to see all there is to see of Rothko’s
blocks of color, the hungry purples smeared on
canvases, the primal reds. The baby likes the moving
walkway, mobiles, flickering lights, the giant blueberry-
colored rooster crowing at the city from the roof.
I assume abstract expressionists will be a bit beyond
his comprehension, forgetting that they’re art stripped
down to form, to line and color, to oval and ochre, to
rectangle and rose. So that when his babbles echo off
the surfaces in Rothko’s room, I see he understands it
more than I will, pre-verbal, full of awe, himself another
masterpiece of bright, unsayable things.
Published in MOM EGG REVIEW 16
Jen Stewart Fueston lives in Longmont, Colorado. Her work has appeared in a wide variety of journals and anthologies. The forthcoming poem, ‘Trying to Conceive,’ was a finalist for Ruminate magazine’s McCabe poetry prize. Her chapbook, Visitations, was published in 2015. She has taught writing at the University of Colorado, Boulder, as well as internationally in Hungary, Turkey, and Lithuania.

MAMA_Logo_2015

The Museum of Motherhood, the ProCreate Project, the Mom Egg Review, and the Mother Magazine are pleased to announce the launch of a bi-monthly international exchange of ideas and art. M.A.M.A. will celebrate the notion of being “pregnant with ideas” in new ways. This scholarly discourse intersects with the artistic to explore the wonder and the challenges of motherhood. Using words and art to connect new pathways between the creative, the academic, the para-academic, the digital, and the real, as well as the everyday: wherever you live, work, and play, the Art of Motherhood is made manifest. Download the Press Release here or read about updated initiatives#JoinMAMA  @ProcreateProj  @MOMmuseum @TheMomEgg

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M.A.M.A. Left Overs – no more with Rajaa Paixão and Oz with Gwen North Reiss

Statement:

Rajaa Paixão’s art practice tackles a conceptual and multidisciplinary approach, mainly encompassing sculpture and painting, turned into assemblages.

Having an overly dreamy and idealist nature, her thoughts tend to be too erratic and therefore overlapping, resulting in the abstraction and blurry perception of events, contrasted with the urge to reorder physical objects neatly, and naturally, the need to examine divergent themes.

Rajaa’s work process resembles a reverse visual digression, exploring the limits of her memory and imagination, and sharpening indistinct feelings through a dissected analysis of the subject; with the purpose of demystifying the complexity of an event and minimalising thematic narratives by stripping it to its essentials.

The choice of unconventional and diverse materials results from the study of the topic and the inspiration behind it. The role of a base/structure to hold or present the work is as essential to her as the artwork itself; and she only feels that the work is finished when both elements merge into one sculpture, with a clear correlation between all the displayed pieces.

“Becoming a mother was a massive challenge to reconcile my art process with my new status and responsibilities, and reintegrate creation in my daily life. It also changed the way I look at life and respond to change, something I’m happy to embrace and translate in my future work. I am currently exploring safe materials further, and implementing new techniques, which will allow me to maintain my practice in the presence of my son.”

Selected Projects:

– Left Overs no more

The body of work consists of an installation of 3 pieces encompassing painting (at times using one hand while holding a baby or rocking a pram with the other), and sculpture, using contrasted materials and techniques to create organic and industrial shapes.

Bringing together unfinished works and what seems to be an eternal work in progress, the artworks respond to the theme of Sanity and Motherhood, or what’s left of it.

The result involves a long process of what resembles an artistic therapy, in an attempt to extrude trapped emotions on canvas, morphing unconscious thoughts into a colourful interpretation, repetitive and identical gestures; assembled to create inner order, achieved in short saccadic intervals of interrupted time.

Echoing a prolonged chaotic mental and physical metamorphosis, the pieces reach a state of being almost finished, on the verge of being made sense of, figured out, endorsed; only to be soon hit by a triggered, sudden and uncontrollable wave of irrational fear backed with fury, spreading “like” fire, consuming every bit of vulnerable order recently restored.

The end result betrays an illusory freedom being brutally stripped off, the lie of being a separate and defined entity, provoking a loss of control and irreversible frustration, transferred onto the work.

What seems to be a hanging promise of accomplishment, just like the postpartum body and mind, displays signs of visible damages and cracks, hinting to the extent of the invisible ones.

In the end, each imperfect left over from an unfinished work manages to find balance and a purpose in filling a supporting role in the birth of a new coherent and complete entity.

– Berlin 78 Days Backwards

3 pieces tackling an impossible hypothetical yet actual attempt of a trip, using the power of physics and surrounding forces such as black holes, time and the speed of light.

A story about missing an art trip to Berlin, and deciding to travel virtually. The work result consists of a time machine (with hints to a torture tool from all the waiting and stressing), light and sand incubators, ‘theoretically’ meant to catch the light through a mirror and make the sand level rise, allowing the powers of physics to do their magic, and a black hole sound piece with a distorted recording of the unlimited calls made to the German Embassy.

M.A.M.A. 28

More about Rajaa:

Rajaa took part in several group exhibitions across England, and was an artist-in-residence at They Eat Culture in Preston, UK, in addition to attending evening classes, Psychoanalysis after Freud, at the Freud Museum, London. She studied a Master of Arts with emphasis on European Art Practice at Kingston School of Art, London, and has received 4 years tuition in Neoclassical Sculpture.

Instagram @rajaapaixao

OZ

By Gwen North Reiss

Like Dorothy you imagine
that someone will give you,
will have the power to
grant, I think was the word,
what you most want,
one thing that was so clear
when you started out
before you met all of these others,
before the dog met all of these others
who also searched for one thing.
You know the list, a heart,
courage, a nervous system etc.,
a way to get back to Point A.
The shoes were key—
the ones worn for a while
by an evil one and now irreversibly
yours because of the violent way you came
into this world, with feet,
fully formed. You were a bit rumpled,
and so serious, staring—
What an entrance! —
while others giggled and cooed
and asked who must you be.
You knew all along, but you had
to tell them in so many words,
reminding them at every turn
when you started walking,
when you reached the city,
and discovered the truth
about the great one.
By then they knew you well
enough to help you explain.
And you knew what they wanted
and knew what you would miss
about each one of them
when you left—or got back
whichever it was.
The day wishes were handed out like prizes
the great and powerful disappeared
in an instant, waving and yelling97

MAMA_Logo_2015

The Museum of Motherhood, the ProCreate Project, the Mom Egg Review, and the Mother Magazine are pleased to announce the launch of a bi-monthly international exchange of ideas and art. M.A.M.A. will celebrate the notion of being “pregnant with ideas” in new ways. This scholarly discourse intersects with the artistic to explore the wonder and the challenges of motherhood. Using words and art to connect new pathways between the creative, the academic, the para-academic, the digital, and the real, as well as the everyday: wherever you live, work, and play, the Art of Motherhood is made manifest. Download the Press Release here or read about updated initiatives#JoinMAMA  @ProcreateProj  @MOMmuseum @TheMomEgg

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M.A.M.A. The Muteness and the Scream & When You Were Wild [Click]

The Muteness and the Scream
Carolina Brunelli

I have always believed in Art with a purpose. I have always believed that I needed a motive, a driving force of social change for my creative process to make sense. When I saw myself pregnant that feeling had simply gone. Perhaps by irony, the patriarchal oppression that I have never acknowledged in my own life, paralyzed me and the torrent of the classical dual feelings of motherhood threw me in a black hole. I no longer saw myself as an individual, a woman, an artist, nor could I see myself as an autonomous being.

This process of turning back to my old self took me three years. It was three years of creative labour to get through the cowardice of patriarchy that oppress women, creating an invisible work force for the perpetuation of the human life, shutting up feminine strength and independence. However, in my situation there is no specific villain, there is no false dichotomy of good and evil, only the branding print in the collective subconscious that women are responsible for raising their children.

Carolina Brunelli

During those three years, I had lost my identity and did not know where to start to get it back. That is until I came across “an Artist Residency in Motherhood”. This residency helped me uncover that I could unglue myself from the symbiosis that is to be a mother and retrieve my identity. My driving force of creation was slowly coming back. It has shown me that Motherhood is a fertile ground for social change and I could finally see that I was not the only one feeling this particular way. Through different readings from other artist mothers, I realised that what I was actually searching for was not an excuse to work, but a good enough excuse. It was not about the patriarchal oppression of feminine exclusivity in raising the children, nor the unfair share of the children´s care, even less the lack of the State support in the form of day-care and schools. It was finally clear to me, that I muted myself because of the lack of recognition of the artistic labour as a worthy enough labour for me to outsource the daily care of my son.

I´m an artist and I´m a woman. I believe in Art as a living force of change. For me, being a mother was not only to yield to all the patriarchal conjecture but to disbelieve in all those special values that made me who I was before, nullifying my own self. Using Art as an instrument and the Residency as catapult, I could see myself as a woman again, independent and above all as a capable individual.

I believe now that I should share this overwhelming experience of imprisonment and freedom. I should go out of my cocoon and show, through everything that I lived the importance of dealing with the Motherhood thematic in Arts. Motherhood needs to cease to be a taboo, to be unwelcome and shameful and can finally reach femininity´s real symbolism of ancestry strength.

Thayná Bonin, a special old friend, who is such a sensible photographer, suggested that her and I could co-create a project to deal with all these issues. Therefore, we have created a photographic manifesto to expose Motherhood in its deepest rawness and awkwardness, but also beauty.

PHOTOGRAPHIC MANIFESTO ART AND MOTHERHOOD

We open the door and invite you to see the shadows, shadows from the story of a woman surviving motherhood on a patriarchal society.
We recover what mother-being has of most human and instinctive, we search for the access to our lost ancestry.

Surviving motherhood on a patriarchal society is painful.
In this society, being a mother means always feeling guilty and tired, to do the job of a whole of society alone.

But beyond the oppressions being a mother is also being able to fight, to survive, to reinvent oneself and to reconnect to our inner nature and strength.
These photos are a manifest, they invite you to look at mothers with compassion, humanity and love.

They are an instrument used to seek a new identity, they deny the bourgeois myth of the all-loving, all-forgiving and all-sacrificing mother and try to reach that touching point of two distinct beings with their own dreams and wishes, passions and fears.
They bring humanity back to the women-mothers, putting them back in focus, the place where they belong in life.

We believe photography can transform and empower the way women see themselves as a woman and as a human being. We hope that through this personal experience of patriarchal oppression we can reach other women and mothers, and that together we can be stronger. Art can be powerful.

Let us rise.

Carolina Brunelli
Thayná Coimbra

L.B. Williams

WHEN YOU WERE WILD   

(after Louise Erdrich)

When you were far away

snow fell green

Where trees were white hoary mountains

When three hundred year old men

could sleep beneath eagles

and become boys again

When I called to you

my voice at first a whisper

When all the mandrake roots were

taken from the earth

When a wind sighing chant

brought you to me.

Originally published in Mom Egg Review Vol. 13

L.B. Williams is the author of, Letters to Virginia Woolf, (Hamilton Books, 2005). Her poetry has appeared in such publications as Washington Square, Mom Egg Review, Sunrise from Blue Thunder (A Pirene’s Fountain Anthology). She has also published two poetry chapbooks, Sky Studies, (Finishing Line Press Fall 2014), and The Eighth Phrase (Porkbelly Press, October 2014). A new poetry chapbook, In the Early Morning Calling, is forthcoming this year from Finishing Line Press. She is Professor of Literature at Ramapo College of New

Jersey. Www.letterstovirginiawoolf.com

MAMA_Logo_2015

The Museum of Motherhood, the ProCreate Project, the Mom Egg Review, and the Mother Magazine are pleased to announce the launch of a bi-monthly international exchange of ideas and art. M.A.M.A. will celebrate the notion of being “pregnant with ideas” in new ways. This scholarly discourse intersects with the artistic to explore the wonder and the challenges of motherhood. Using words and art to connect new pathways between the creative, the academic, the para-academic, the digital, and the real, as well as the everyday: wherever you live, work, and play, the Art of Motherhood is made manifest. Download the Press Release here or read about updated initiatives#JoinMAMA  @ProcreateProj  @MOMmuseum @TheMomEgg

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M.A.M.A. Welcomes the NEW YEAR – 2018 with Melissa Thomas and Megan Merchant

Artist: Melissa Thomas

Last month Melissa Thomas had a piece of reflective non-fiction writing published on the Mom Egg Review website in relation to her salt labyrinths work. Her latest projects some are due to be exhibited at the Shelf gallery in Cambridge, England in January 2018.

The Mother and the Lemon.

As the sun glows, radiantly flowing through the bedroom window, my daughter wakes by the dawns glimmer to ask if I remembered to buy lemons to make lemonade. In the bright morning light, before the displacement of home life, the kitchen is silently prepared with equipment set in place where two bags of lemons rest in the fruit bowl. Lined up on a chopping board like a diagram of the solar system, each lemon is a surface of its own. Displaying an intimate citrus topography, woven together in similarity through the common characteristics of colour, texture and markings, yet, subtly unique in appearance. Reminiscent of a fingerprint, each inimitable indentation is as distinctive as the dots of pores upon skin. Sliced around the plump centre each half is squeezed, extracting its juice for the recipe. Once the liquid is retrieved, I scoop out the remaining flesh, separating it from the dimpled, delicate rind. The scent arising from the anatomised lemons is sharp and sour, permeating the air and nostrils. Cleansing the debris of domestic duty, they become miniature vessels of material gift, bearing ripe nourishment for the senses.

Through the process, the fruit of the lemon is altered into a pile of translucent skin and fragments of flesh. Examining the squashed segments, soft and pulpy in their consistency, the texture induces memories of a placenta. A life sustaining organ, transferring nourishment from one source to another, the placenta is the forgotten phase of birth. Once a baby has arrived, we do not tell stories of the afterbirth, it remains an invisible entity, labelled as medical waste. Alternate meanings and values attached to the symbiotic unit of a baby and its placenta deviate from the codes of accepted social boundaries, rigidly defining normality. The placenta belonging to my youngest child was shaped like a heart, coloured in rich and vivid shades of crimson, sheathed under the loose and wrinkled pinks of membrane, mapped by sprawling thick blue hues of veins. Rooted at the centre, the thick, white umbilical cord, a twisting helix extending like a bridge between mother and child relays communication unheard.

The touch of my skin against the lemon remnants evoked the residue of the experience of birth. The lemons possess a gestational quality that render the juice amniotic, the pips translate as foetal. Attached to the interior, gentle compression enacts effacement as the seeds emerge in continuum. The dried pips are arranged in three lines, neatly spaced one after the other. They become pauses in the dissection of the fruit, punctuation marks to the story, commas dividing a sentence, separating items on a list; peel, pith, flesh, juice. A composition of the inbetween, they highlight negative space, drawing our attention to the blank. How does something emerge from nothing? Categorisation offers a framework to deduce quantitative meaning. Individual components become labelled and isolated from the whole. Mother, daughter, womb, placenta. Where does one begin and the other end? The linear route of experience ruptured the moment she crowned, transpiring from my body, taking with her the comfort of what is known as I exploded into a new realm, reverberating as the hot nebula of a celestial sphere. Reintegration within the symbolic apparatus of language required my children to become gramma within my story, interspersing the concrete with the fluid, subverting boundaries.

Each persistently fruitful contraction acts as a messenger, despatching significance between the body and mind in a language we must decipher. Fluently breathing through each tightening of her muscular uterus she dressed slowly, preparing to relocate to hospital. Shifting through this passage of momentous transfiguration together, we strode down the wide, white corridors side by side, each step asserting strength and fortitude. The labour room is small and square, decorated with attempts to neutralise the clinical atmosphere; colourful painted pictures filtering the bright daylight through the window, fairy lights strung across the wall in celebration. Rather than blending a sense of unity, the differences seem to contrast. Two ideological philosophies jarring against one another, a nexus located in the physicality of birth, unravelling around the mythic quality of experience. A sonogram affirms the elusive positioning of the baby wriggling in her womb; transverse. Validation becomes immediately distinguished, she had known all along. The emotional apprehension dissipates as the course ahead becomes clear and consent for a caesarean is acknowledged.

The operating room is bright and busy. Her naked skin sits at the centre of bustling bodies veiled in sterile overcoats, manoeuvring between the concentrated landscape of wires and machinery. I observe the surgeon’s fingers tracing the ridges of her spine as the positioning for the needle is located and anaesthetic administered. Sitting by her side, caressing her soft arm, the process is quick and smooth. A green screen draped between her torso and the surgeons work creates the illusion of two halves. A mind and a body divided at the centre, I witness her wholeness through moments of disarticulation. She is the centre of the universe as tears roll down her cheeks like rain falling from the clouds, nourishing the fertile soil, eternally giving and receiving. The baby nestled sideways within her womb, emerges purple and quiet, safely tucked inside her gown, skin to skin. The surgeon begins the process of suturing her abdomen, each layer of flesh dexterously adjusted under the bright overhead spotlight. With nimble hands, a threaded curved needle draws the deep incision together into a rippled seam tracing the contour of her swollen uterus, a threshold on the edge of the fabric of creation.

I returned home in deep exhaustion, my body heavy in a haze. Romantic and visionary ideals of expectation are torn away by the wild, bold autonomy of parturition. There is no personal, there is no political as division dissolves, blurring dreams and nightmares. I awake. Upon the floor, next to my bed there is a single lemon. I stretch my legs to begin the day and I stand upon its oval shape. Beneath the weight of my body, the fruit splits across its ellipsoidal meridian squirting citrus juice onto the soft, beige carpet. I pick up the injured lemon, its form encased within the palm of my hand, bearing resemblance to a tiny body, perhaps of a bird or a small mammal. With flesh and liquid contained beneath its surface, it appears to be breathing. Squeezing the supple, waxy peel between the gentle pressure of my fingertips, the pulp contracts and expands, it’s alive. Transformed into a subject, not solely an object, becoming more than an ingredient for culinary, domestic or medicinal purposes but emerging from its own stories and history.

 

June 2017 Melissa Thomas

Poetry by Megan Merchant

Working the Night Shift

 

String a white sheet

from the body of trees

in the wild,

 

set a lantern

behind its screen

and wait

 

for the flush of

mottled wings

to lisp and net

the light,

 

note how some

are frayed as

edges of a rug

beaten against

wind,

 

how the brightest

markings allow

the most brazen

behavior,

 

a wingspan—that if

crumpled

inside a mouth—

will tart a tongue.

 

Wait as they collect

like silk eyes

twitching,

 

paper darts

that shred rain,

 

and can trace the scent

of a wounded leaf

to know where

to slip their young

safely.

 

Wait long enough

and they will show

you how to be reborn

into night.

From Mom Egg Review Vol. 15 2017

Megan Merchant lives in the tall pines of Prescott, Arizona where she spends her days exploring, drinking too much coffee and avoiding the laundry.

Her poems and translations have appeared in publications including The Atlanta ReviewKennesaw ReviewMargieInternational Poetry Review, Diode  and more.  She holds a MFA degree from UNLV and was the winner of the 2017 Beullah Rose Poetry Prize, the 2016-2017 Cog Literary Award and the Las Vegas Poets Prize, She is a multi-year Pushcart Prize nominee.

She is an editor at the Comstock Review, and the author of four chapbooks: Translucent, sealed, (Dancing Girl Press, 2015),Unspeakable Light (Throwback Books, 2016), In the Rooms of a Tiny House (ELJ Publications, 2016), and A Thousand Paper Cranes(Finishing Line Press, 2016).  Her first full-length collection, Gravel Ghosts, is currently available through Glass Lyre Press and was awarded the 2016 Best Book Award.  Her second full-length poetry collection, The Dark’s Humming, won the 2015 Lyrebird Award and is also available with Glass Lyre Press.

Her first children’s book, These Words I Shaped for You, is now available with Penguin Random House

http://meganmerchant.wixsite.com/poet/about

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The Museum of Motherhood, the ProCreate Project, the Mom Egg Review, and the Mother Magazine are pleased to announce the launch of a bi-monthly international exchange of ideas and art. M.A.M.A. will celebrate the notion of being “pregnant with ideas” in new ways. This scholarly discourse intersects with the artistic to explore the wonder and the challenges of motherhood. Using words and art to connect new pathways between the creative, the academic, the para-academic, the digital, and the real, as well as the everyday: wherever you live, work, and play, the Art of Motherhood is made manifest. Download the Press Release here or read about updated initiatives#JoinMAMA  @ProcreateProj  @MOMmuseum @TheMomEgg