At age twelve, I sat alone
in the bathroom, mortified
by the first sprouts of hair
rising up like a secret between
the soft folds of my skin.


Age twenty-eight, pregnant
with my second child, two miscarriages
under my belt, I stood over my mom
in her bathroom, brushed her
damp hair, dressed her naked body
in a clean night gown, her first shower

They had taken it all—
the ovary that released
the egg of me, the womb that
grew me, now disposed in a
dark corner of a hospital
laboratory, bobbing in a bath
of formaldehyde.


Now, age thirty-three, my three children
follow me into the bathroom,
pointing, asking why I have hair on it,
and what are those things
that sag from my chest like rocks in socks?

When I tell them
they drank from these things as babies,
their eyes widen in horror.
They don’t believe me.


My oldest daughter, age seven, asks me,
“Mommy, what is the hardest question?”

I tell her there are a lot of hard questions,
that it’s hard to pick just one.

She tells me to pick anyways.
She thinks I am half-god, half-idiot.

I say, “Okay, what is the meaning of life?”
“That’s easy,” she says.

“God was lonely, so He created us to be with Him forever.
See Mommy—I know everything.”


How to be a mother:

Open your body like a mouth
hungry for life. Chew on the dark

pulp of it. Feel it grow
from the inside out.

Taste the blossom and
the rot. Let the bough of you

bend to the weight
of the fruit. Snap back.

Stand tall in the shame
of a body fully realized.

Libby Kurz holds a BS in Nursing and an MFA in Creative Writing. Her work has been published in The Poet’s Billow, Relief Journal, Driftwood Press, Literary Mama, and Ruminate. A veteran of the US Air Force, she now resides on the coast of Virginia with her family. When she’s not keeping tabs on her three kids, she works as a registered nurse and teaches creative writing workshops. You can find her at