my mother stands in my driveway
holding two grocery bags like twin babies.

i crush my cigarette under my foot
and say mom, let me
carry those for you.

i tell her i’ll stop
smoking when i’m pregnant

and she says i already am
my own baby.

what i want more

is to be my own mother
or for there to be no mothers,

or maybe i can only carry
what can also carry me.

then she hoists the bags into my arms.
and jesus, for 30 years i’ve been here wondering
how it was possible i felt so light.

she gives me the weight
and says thank you.


Grace Gallagher is a freelance writer living in Portland, Oregon. She loves libraries, gas station coffee, summer and places where it always feel like summer. She received an MFA in Poetry from Hunter College in 2015 and her work has previously appeared in the Rufous City Review. She is on Twitter @ gracegalla