my womb is a ripening mango, pulsing life, and i am more mother than other now. the feet of one boy in my ribs, the other clutching tight my belly where he pokes my button and cries to be held, and husband plays footsy and touches this flushed skin of woman when all i want is to cry “sanctuary.”

longing for a space to call mine. this, being a woman being a mother being a wife, but what do you do when you forget who you are? what do you do when the hands beg to be held and the noses wiped and the mouth kissed, and it’s no longer just a peripheral thing, for the calling is swallowing up your insides? it’s everything?

but it’s life, and what else would i want to live? sometimes i linger hands in dishwater staring into lawn into trees into sky pretending i am an artist in europe with a long purple scarf that has no spit-up or baby kisses or dinner prep wiped in its length. i carry canvas instead of diaper bag and i meet love under the bridge in the moonlight but suddenly, my womb aches, and the dishwater grows cold, and there is someone crying, a little voice crying and i realize it’s me. for i don’t want that, no, i just want a bath and a glass of wine and a long night’s sleep.

and that’s when sanctuary happens. this glimpse into life without the little arms that wrap my legs or the husband’s feet that beg for mine or the laundry piled high for the skin it will cover. i am granted grace to see beyond the spit-up and the stretch marks, the grace to see life for what it is. and this is what it is. a miracle that enfolds you completely.