The Mother

This story is paired with “The Changeling” from Children’s and Household Tales by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. For best experience, download the LithoReader for your iPhone or iPad and get NonBinary Review for free. 


Robbed of everything.
Stripped bare.
Left raw and cracked
like these broken eggshells.

I look to the cradle
hand to my belly
stroking my former talisman
to awaken from this nightmare
instead, a hollow and flaccid reminder
for I no longer feel the quickening
of my heart, my soul
my existence.
Salt to an immortal wound
lies an innocent child
staring with wide, abyssal eyes
gluttonous for affection
reflecting ugliness
that bursts jagged splinters within
my decency, my compassion
my aching bosom.
Tears burn
hot daggers on gossamer flesh
as I toil and boil like a common witch
wrath igniting the fiery hearth
fueling my sense of urgency, my motherly instinct
my only hope.

Though exposed and empty I stand
vigilant; praying for a changeling’s cackle
to inflame the fallacious phoenix to ashes
our cries intermingled
into cherubic laughter reborn
my precious gift, my life
my son.


adina-newmanAdina Newman’s poems have appeared in Enchanted Conversation, Decades Review, Yes, Poetry, Indigo Rising Magazine, Poetica Magazine, and other print and electronic publications. She lives in the Washington, D.C. area with her husband and son.