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The Woman Who Takes Care of Other People's Children by Laura Chester

February 05, 1989

She loves the son as her own, but has to keep her distance when Mother comes into the room. She would offer her breast if he were hers, but instead she holds his naked body in her bare arms for that completeness. She knows how to make quiet how to bring his smile to the surface. She gives and gives and stays in the background. She's not sure how she should feel but she too breaks down when he leaves home for good. And even as a man, he wonders-- Whose arms, that comfort. Until out of the reservoir the bottomless reservoir at midnight cradled on his death bed he calls for his mother and sees one face and longs for another's dense black hair. From "In the Zone: New Selected Writing" (Black Sparrow Press: $20, cloth; $12.50, paper; 231 pp.) The poem above is the last of four by Chester on pregnancy and related themes that have been reprinted in Book Review in recent weeks. 1988, Laura Chester. Reprinted by permission of Black Sparrow Press.

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