On Having More Than 2.3 Children

lil mac on beach

See me?  A sunny light
on San Diego sand
in rosebud print pants,
exposing my left knee.
See my pink tongue
darting past mother’s doubts
puddled in that footprint
in the bottom right corner
of her blown-up brain.
I run to mom’s shadow
crashing into
negative                space
(the one she almost cropped out)
and reel in her prayer
that she wakes up
with octopus arms.
An invention to hold me
(and her,)  (and her.)
I’m focused and free from
letters from Grandmothers
that painfully spell it out,
“Don’t have too many children.
You will fail to give them enough.”
See my mom in black silhouette?
Strapped with a baby, a lens, and a bag,
she’s facing the shifting sun.
Life develops inside my purple pail and
in reflex I shout from my diaphragm
to the roaring waves,
“Give me 15,000 starfish babies!!”
Mom’s lips curl and a mongrel dog
pisses that footprint away.
I skip and shoot along the shore
preoccupied with my pail.
Don’t tell me I want too much.
(I didn’t read Grandma’s letter.)



  1. Oh Angie – I am speechless – the way you structured this
    I run to mom’s shadow
    crashing into
    negative space
    (the one she almost cropped

    The octopus arms truly realistic.
    I really loved this – well done xxx

    • Looking at this photo instantly took me back to that feeling of wanting to be so much more present than I was physically able to with my firstborn. Grandma’s letter underscored my angst & crept into the poem via the footprint in the sand.

  2. What a cutie patooty!

    It’s cool how you were able to conjure up this poem based on a single photographic image–a perfect example of how art inspires art.

    • Thanks…that was my little mac back in 2001. She now shares a house with 3 sisters!! Kids outnumber us for sure, and girls outnumber my husband;/

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