The Narcissus Bulb

by | Apr 1, 2020 | Poetry

Before his birth, I had never seen
a penis wrapped in foreskin like a small, unblossomed bulb.

I bathed and diapered him, and together, after a time,
we aimed his miniature elephant’s trunk
and its unreliable spout, as if I were a practiced mentor.

There’s no scribbled date in the baby book
to note his last unabashed slosh in tub bubbles,
while I rested ringside and sang—

Mother Duck said quack quack quack.

At eleven, my son asks me to leave him alone
with the doctor, and I listen
to his murmured answers through the door.

At night I dream my hand
where it no longer belongs.

There is the possibility
of too much mother love.

But once, his boy body
was my body, and mine
an archway of bone where he huddled,
warmed for a season,
by my blood.

THE NARCISSUS BULB by Patricia Caspers

Photo used under CC.

About The Author


Patricia Caspers’ poems have been published widely, most recently in SWWIM, Rust+Moth, Border Crossing, Pedestal Magazine, Catamaran, and Terrain. She won the Nimrod Hardman Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, and her full-length collection, In the Belly of the Albatross, was published by Glass Lyre Press. When not writing, Caspers may be found peddling literature to children in Northern California.