Sister Sirens

Homework: A poem by Terry Godbey


by Terry Godbey


The last time I stared at a sonogramHold Still cover low res 250 perfect web size

screen, my husband held my hand.

We watched the flickers of our son’s

heartbeat, admired his runner’s legs

that kept me awake at night.


Now that boy suffers

in high school geometry

and I’m pained to see a long needle

traverse my left breast.

The surgeon retrieves four corkscrews

of tissue that will tell my fortune.

On the fifth expedition, she plants

a stainless steel marker.

No one holds my hand.


My son learns about

isosceles triangles,

the rhombus

while I wait

for the phone to ring.

We both dread our test results.

My breast turns violet,

antifreeze green,

and every step I take, each jiggle,

starts the throb. The seat belt,

bumpy brick roads

near my home are agony.

No hugs, I tell him.


Huddled over homework,

protractor in hand,

he studies angles and lines,

mumbles numbers.

I, too, have much to measure,

starting with

the shortest distance

between here

and there.




TerryDSC_2969©JudyWatsonTracy2013-2 low res

Terry Godbey’s latest book, Hold Still, was published in 2014. Her other poetry collections are Flame; Beauty Lessons, winner of the Quercus Review Poetry Series Annual Book Award; and Behind Every Door, winner of Slipstream’s Annual Poetry Chapbook Award. A winner of the Rita Dove Poetry Award, she has published more than 130 poems in literary magazines including Poet Lore, Rattle, Slipstream, CALYX, and Harpur Palate.  Terry is equally adept at photography, her new love; the cover of Hold Still is one of her photos. See more of her work on her website, Terry Godbey.

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