Excerpt from Mother of Moses by Carine Topal


This poem appears in our Fall 2015 Print Issue. Download the entire issue in digital format.

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We are named by our mothers. Named so we’ll know who tumbled
forth from the temple – barefoot, fevered: the kings, the holy widow
working the heels of her hands. What of Yocheved, her infant son
hitched on her hip, soon to be hidden among reeds in caulked wicker,
water-tight with slime and pitch, thrust down a river where fish will
die and he’ll be named Musa, one drawn from water. What of the
mother who gives up what’s most adored, who must learn mercy as
we watch her swaddle the infant, setting him into the basket like a
loaf of risen bread – then slide him to the bottom of the world? Still,
we forgive her for what she’s about to do.

Carine TopalCARINE TOPAL’S work has appeared in The Best of the Prose Poem, Greensboro Review, Briar Cliff Review and other journals and anthologies. Her 2nd collection of poetry, “Bed of Want,” won the 2007 Robert G. Cohen Prose Poetry Award. Topal’s 3rd collection, “In the Heaven of Never Before,” was published in 2008 by Moon Tide Press. She is the recipient of the Palettes and Quills 4th Biennial Chapbook Contest and her book “Tattooed,” was published in Spring 2015.

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