ANC070: Eruption Sequence by Meg Thompson
My kids, / wildfires that cracked me, / first born on the Fourth of July. // One knocks her tooth on / the door. Nothing to do, / watch her mouth fill with blood.
Experts have long debated the mechanics of tooth eruption, identifying a common timeline for this process of dentition but failing to determine its underlying causes. Doctors throughout the ages have employed a variety of unpleasant treatments to ease an infant's discomfort, including the application of mercury, leaches, and lead. While toddler's gums are no longer lanced to free a path for emerging teeth, researchers have yet to establish a conclusive theory for how nature completes the enterprise independently. Of course, none of this matters to the child themself; they must simply learn to endure the agony and uncertainty, a trial run for life's many misfortunes.
In Eruption Sequence, Meg Thompson conflates her young daughter and son's teething with the postpartum depression she concurrently faces—feeling she too will slowly explode from the unseen stress of motherhood. "Dumb Happy Mom made / the mistake a few years back / telling everyone that / she was a little bit sad. / Dumb Happy Mom thought / everyone was kind / of on the same page / about how hard it is / to raise children." Thompson bears her burden alone but does not wallow in it. She reflects on the daily routines of parenting, finds humor in trips to Target and the zoo, appreciates the quiet moments of togetherness her role provides. She considers the troubled world awaiting her kids and the fates of families less fortunate, ultimately taking relief in recognizing "My girl is good. / My boy is good."
For every copy sold, Another New Calligraphy will donate $1 to New Moms, an organization serving young mothers experiencing poverty and homelessness in the Chicagoland area.