Does the world need another poem
about a tired mother?

Last week, I wanted to
get in my car and drive
to Somewhere Else.
Anywhere Else, really.

I have hitched my heart
to the notion of a limitless woman,
and I have been
dragged away.

I don’t know this woman.
Not this year, anyway.

I don’t even know
who to be mad at most days,

the days when I
whisper-scream fuck
into the hottest water
coming out of my shower head.

Can I tell you?
I don’t want hot water.

I want to be a popsicle
left alone on the sidewalk;
left to grow soft and sweet and
shapeless in the hottest sun.

I said this part out loud,
so last week my husband
put me in a car
and I drove to the silence
of Somewhere Else
where I could feel my body
melt into an
unrecognizable shape.

I gave her everything
she desired:

I soaked her in quiet,
held her in the dark,
offered her wine,
sugar, a cold antipasto salad.

But mothers can’t stay melted.
So when it was time,

I gathered dish towels and
soaked myself back up,
wrung myself out, and poured
myself back into the shape of a mother.

I returned
only to retreat
to my shower to whisper-scream
what the fuck is wrong with me

and why
is this so hard

and I don’t know what to become
after a popsicle.

Amanda Roth is an emerging poet and author of the full-length collection, A Mother’s Hunger (2021). Her work explores motherhood, embodiment, the climate crisis, and revisionist folklore. She is featured in Wild Roof Journal and Sunday Mornings at the River, among others. Find her on Instagram @amandarothpoetry and Twitter @amandarothpoet