what it means to be a mother

Last night I dreamed

                  my son was drowning

                  and I couldn’t save him.


His buoyancy held him

                  pressed to the roof of a play-space tube

                  submerged inside a pool.


Adrenaline from loins to limb

                  seared every inch of me

                  into battle-ready she-beast.


Gasping as I surfaced from my dream

                  I thundered in the darkness

                  to his room.


Sodden-sensed and short of breath

                  I placed both shaking hands upon his chest.

                  My heart was beating twice as fast as his.


The weight of fathoms pressed against my head

                  till my legs folded

                  and I knelt beside by his bed.


I watched his ribcage fall and lift.

                  My eyes, night-creature crisp,

                  measured every breath.


At last assuaged, I left.

                  Every bit of fight was stripped from me.

                  Another episode of training was complete.


I reclined with feet and fingers tingling,

                  my breath still laced with aftertastes of chlorine

                  and of death.


Summer is coming

                  and we live by a lake.

                  Soon we’ll all be swimming.


Every Spring I dream

                  of my kids drowning.

                  This is what it means to be a mother.

Carrie Danaher Hoyt is a lifelong lover & writer of poetry.  She lives in Massachusetts where she is a wife and mother of three school-aged kids; she also works as an estate planning attorney. Carrie has poems in The Cabinet of Heed, Amethyst Review, The Pangolin Review, Twitterization Nation, thegreenlightjournal.com & forthcoming in Anti-Heroin Chic. She is also very proud to have a poem in Isabelle Kenyon's poetry collaboration titled, "Please Hear What I'm Not Saying," the proceeds of which go to raise awareness of and support for mental health.  You can find Carrie on Twitter @CDanaherH.