Dreamy Poet

Poetry by Kavya Janani. U
First Few Years of Motherhood – An Apocalypse (List Poem)

First Few Years of Motherhood – An Apocalypse (List Poem)

Before you begin reading this poem, here’s a brief history of it. I wrote First Few Years of Motherhood – An Apocalypse during NaPoWriMo 2020. What started as an intense poem about motherhood ended up becoming a favorite of many who weren’t mothers in the literal sense. This poem was first published on the Silver Leaf Poetry website. Later, it was chosen to go to the moon along with a bunch of short stories and poems from other writers. Soon, this poem will be found in a digital storage space on the moon. Go ahead and read the poem!


i. when the first seismic wave contracted my womb, I was looking at a coconut tree outside the window. on the second seismic wave, I stumbled for balance. third, fourth, fifth — I groaned. the 33rd seismic wave took me to the pinnacle of agony. I threw the smiley ball, gritted my teeth, and swallowed all the adjectives of trauma. finally, my tectonic plates moved and I birthed an earthquake. they placed it on my chest like it was a bag of ambrosia. oh, have you ever cradled an earthquake in your arms?

ii. my breasts were storehouses of milk floods. two suckles and they let down. a flood enough to choke my daughter, if she wouldn’t unlatch at the right time. let-downs stagnated in my ducts like the flooding of Niagara Falls. no one told me that each session of breastfeeding caused floods. cracked nipples, evidence of those catastrophes. sometimes, the floods clogged and turned into little painful mountains.

iii. tea evenings were mini Jallianwala Bagh massacres. my mother and I reheated our teas for the 100th time. no longer they were teas by the end of it. raw theobromine collected in bone china cups. it tasted like mud and smelt like dried blood, the aftermath of a successful massacre. caused by tiny hands that clapped joyously in the air.

iv. all my nights I wanted to call insomnia and embrace it because it looked so beautiful. but, interrupted sleep caused sandstorms in my mind. erratic sleep patterns of my daughter evoked tornadoes in all the recesses of my body, which she’d never know. all she wanted was to be rocked to the tune of Humpty Dumpty. and I laughed at how even Humpty couldn’t prevent his great fall.

v. this poem took me days to finish, as I cleaned up the scattered aftermath of riots and increased the air-conditioning so that my daughter could sleep a wee bit more. the riots took place in all the rooms and all the rubber toys, soft toys, ping-pong balls, and wooden brick-bracks, felt like fallen corpses. each time I gulped my annoyance and turned an undertaker so that I could finish this poem in peace.

vi. every pooping session of my daughter was like being in the Battle of Plassey. her cries, wails, screeches, our consolations, rhymes blaring from the television, and distress turning into tsunamis in our minds. her diary recorded her historic activities, which read like notes of all the battles ever fought. when her milk teeth did not sprout out at the right time, our despairs raged like forest fires.

vii. my mother told me that she had it easier. her words were these, “motherhood is an apocalypse, yes. with every passing year, it destroys something in you and makes you a better person. the first few years can feel like an apocalypse, but it turns into an apocalyptic poem, which you can never stop writing.” and for the first time, I felt liberated thinking about motherhood.

©Kavya Janani. U


If you are in love with my poems, please consider purchasing a copy of my poetry collection – La Douleur Exquise.

You can also read my freeverse poems here: Freeverse Poems by Kavya Janani. U

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Dreamy Poet