Mother of Tomorrow

Caroline Plasket

“The mother of tomorrow reaffirmed the “cult of true womanhood,” which positioned women as arbiters of morality within the home and dissuaded women from asserting too much social and sexual independence.”

“The science of the eugenics offered a new approach to understanding and treating this “girl problem.” Such women were not depraved, sick, or victimized; rather, they were genetically flawed.”

-Building a Better Race: Gender, Sexuality, and Eugenics from
the Turn of the Century to the Baby Boom
 by Wendy Kline 

I turned thirty and thought now the world will take me
seriously. Every day is as sunny as a sitcom.
A young duck is tucked into the water,
into the mouth of a snapping turtle.
I have read the directions and still
my sons feud. The world is built on
want. And yet. I serve fat fruit for dinner
and watch its wreckage at the mouths of my men.
When asked what I had to offer, I assumed
it was something approved for biting. 

The dogs are bored. The children are bored. I was never
a child. They nose the ground for anything fallen.
Who is it in me who raises the children? 
This body was no place to raise a child.

And after that day, under that fat fruit tree, limb bent,
when I offered myself as a pomegranate spilling over, you took
me in a new way. The kind that made fruit a metaphor, 
that told of our rejoining as a metaphor for the end of everything.

Sometimes I imagine the fruit tree becomes a large blade
as we sit under it. It cuts me down the center, two perfect halves,
juice spilling from my insides. One half a chthonic basilisk,
the other half a woman baking pomegranate pie, breast fat, pregnant
and naked for you. Still, no one takes me
seriously. The ducks diminish in number
each day. The turtles grow fat.