Big with Dawn

Yesterday: me, a stone, the river,
a bottle of Jack, the clouds
with unusual speed crept by.

A man was in the middle of me.
I was humbled.
Not by him. The earth,

with its unusual speed,
went from dawn to dusk to dawn.
Just like that. The light

every shade of gold. Gold. I’m
greedy for it. Light is my currency.
I am big with dawn. So hot & so

pregnant with the fire I stole.
By pregnant I mean everything
you see is of me. Daylight

is my daughter. Dusk, my lover’s
post-pleasure face. And the night?
Well. Look up.

Are you ever really alone?


Copyright © 2020 by Katie Condon. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 7, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“This began as a very different poem, in which the speaker argued bitterly with a specific ‘you.’ The essential gesture of the poem was ‘come at me, I dare you.’ In this early draft, the speaker’s fullness, which later became the metaphor of pregnancy, served as a source of power and thus a kind of defense against this ‘you.’ That first half of the poem eventually fell away when I realized I was most interested in exploding our inaccurate and G-Rated ideas of mothers—the gentle caretaker who makes good meatballs and tells you your skirt is too short—by creating a speaker whose swagger is fueled entirely by her sexual maternal power. We were all born from a mother who wielded her desire and her desired body to make us possible, and ‘Big with Dawn’ celebrates that fact.”
Katie Condon