By Mariah Anne Agee

January 3, 2022


I want waking up to feel like shuffling a new deck of cards: smooth and full of intention. The citrus sun rises early now. I remember that my body is also a tender peach, wrinkling as I stretch to the horizon line. I will be a little kinder to this flesh, to these cells within me working the third shift just so I can smile at strangers I pass in the park.

I put lotion on my skin each morning and I look myself in the eye, unable to hold the gaze more than a moment, but practicing, always practicing. Facing the mirror, I trace my fingers down the glowing line connecting my belly button to the faded tattoo on my hip.

This shining stretch mark was not my choice, but my next decision gave me freedom. With pregnancy snuffed like candlelight, I see myself clearly through the smoke. I whisper softly to my empty womb, “You have carried life and witnessed death. I will never stop treating us to long, hot showers and the cool side of the pillow.” The sun sinks, beauty illuminated, and melts into my skin like butter. I am golden.

I want falling asleep to feel like the first time he grabbed my hand. Like slipping, and flying. The days are longer now, and the birds are returning home. The cycles of nature remain unbroken, whether I am mothering or being mothered. I will remember these things tomorrow. I will give myself time to forget.


Mariah Anne Agee lives and works in Michigan and is deeply passionate about genuine connection to community, creativity, wonder, and the earth. You can find her wandering a nearby forest or lakeside. Look for her work in The Kindred Voice, Artprize 9 & 10, and the Awesome Mitten.


Picture by Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas

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