Saturday, 18 August 2018

Other women don't tell you

by Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach

some days, cleaning the bathroom will feel
like enough. Some days, washing out every bottle
and scrubbing the milk residue rings until their white
is in your skin and under your nails, some days, letting
the plastic dry until it shines like expensive China, some days,
that too will feel like enough. And when you’re squatting
on the bathroom floor across from your son, making noises
that are animal and beast and mother in one, watching him
scrunch his face into a prune to make those same sounds
back at you without result, some days, when he picks up
a magazine about wood building and stays seated and looks
so much like his father and grandfather and likely theirs
and you are there to see this, those days feel like so much more
than enough. But others, most days even, after you’ve hidden 
every roll of toilet paper and every spillable and breakable
and chokeable, after you’ve folded and tucked and verbed
through those things other women told you
make you woman or warm or worn out man or maybe
just womb, after you’ve done more with your body
than your body has ever done, nothing feels like enough
or like anything at all. 

* * * * *

This installment of "Other women don't tell you" was also previously published in DIALOGIST. It is part of Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach's book, The Many Names for Mother, which was recently selected by Ellen Bass as the winner of the Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize, and will be published by Kent State University Press in the Fall of 2019.

Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach emigrated from Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine as a Jewish refugee when she was six years old. She holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of Oregon and is a Ph.D. candidate in Comparative Literature at the University of Pennsylvania, where her research focuses on contemporary American poetry about the Holocaust. Julia is the author of The Bear Who Ate the Stars (Split Lip Press, 2014) and her recent poems appear in Best New Poets, American Poetry Review, and Nashville Review, among others. She is also Editor-in-Chief of Construction Magazine ( and when not busy chasing her toddler around the playgrounds of Philadelphia, she writes a blog about motherhood (

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