Poetry Sunday: “Night Bed,” by Leslie Contreras Schwartz


Night Bed

Nesting, you feed
and feed.

Mouth open,
plum pressed open
to let and spill—
taste of everything
that it is not.
Somewhere is the stone
that you want to reach,
but cannot.

Flare of your
tongue and the
world was populated
with mothers. Before
a planet of orphans.
I still turn in sleep
away from you.

And yet
we are made like sand.
Only ourselves, dune
that shifts and breaks
together. We will
shift and we will
sand. We will
mother and we will child.
Palm on head
palm on breast. Sighs
and ceiling fan,
light from under
the shade,
light from under
the door.

From Fuego, Saint Julian Press, 2016.



Leslie Contreras Schwartz is a poet and essayist from Houston, Texas. She is the author of the poetry collection Fuego (Saint Julian Press, 2016). Her work has appeared recently in The Collagist, Tap Literary Journal, Storyscape Literary Journal, Hermeneutic Chaos, and Tinderbox Poetry Journal. Her personal essays have appeared in The Huffington Post, the Houston Chronicle, The Toast, Ozy, and Dame Magazine. She holds an MFA in poetry from the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College and a BA in English from Rice University. Visit lesliecschwartz.com for more on her work.


Poet’s Note

I wrote this poem when I was thinking about those early days of mothering an infant and the constant need that seems to never wane. There is this push and pull that exists in those days—this attempt at connecting, and a rejection at being utterly consumed by that connection— something representative of all our attempts at human connection. I don’t believe that mothering is inherent or ingrained; that is a myth. My attempt in this poem was to try to describe a part of this growing relationship, which in many ways can describe any relationship in which we are called to give something of ourselves we’re not sure we have yet.

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  • Patricia Yarberry Allen, M.D. December 4, 2016 at 9:20 am

    Many of us are finding our way in this new political landscape without a map and fear that we may become lost. We do, however, have our moral compass and many fellow travelers with us on this journey, each of whom bring knowledge and energy and determination that will help us in the turnover that always comes in our electoral process. We do need to respect the ship and pray that the captain understands that democracy is fragile and that ours is now under his leadership. Your selection of poems for December seems just right to lift us out of our state of anxiety and move us on to the New Year where our collective work as citizens of both parties can begin again.
    Dr. Pat