Poet’s Corner: Kierstin Bridger For Mother’s Day (in Nigeria)

Did you know that 72 percent of moms felt more beautiful when they were pregnant. And for Mother’s Day (today), 1 in 4 moms say they want a trip to the spa, all according to blogs.baby center.com. Jennifer Borget’s post includes other surprising fact, largely upbeat.

But on Mother’s Day, Kierstin Bridger is not thinking upbeat. She is focused on one particular group of moms in Nigeria. They could care less about flowers and good things in small packages – unless those good things are their little girls, returned to their arms after being abducted by a group of men from an extremist Islamic group (the Boko Haram) simply because they wanted an education.

Below is Kierstin’s heartbreakingly beautiful riff on the headlines.


Kierstin Bridger

Kierstin Bridger. Join her and 4 other talented women writers at Literary Burlesque, part of the first annual Telluride Literary Arts Festival. 5/16 at The Bean.



Mother and Child Reunion

Remember 2010 when no one could fly

over the Atlantic or anywhere

in North or Western Europe,

when Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull

erupted its fine gritty ash and interrupted

Africa’s international flower markets,

when the BBC looped footage of bulldozers

pushing  pounds of red petals

and thorns clung to metal teeth, when roses

dangled for the camera then fell into pits of trash?


We were caught on our anniversary Roman holiday

when nothing seemed right

about more days of Italian pear gelato

and marble Madonnas, when, Oh Mama Mia,

I missed my darling girl in the States

tucked in tight every night under her Grandmother’s quilts.

While dozens of long stems were worthless,

when not enough money in the world

could buy me home,

not even with diamonds

on soles of my shoes.


While we waited I sang, “Is only a motion away”

I sang “Is only a moment away”


It seems like nothing now

Michelle’s on the telly now holding up signs

“Bring Back Our Girls”

and we dare talk about mass weddings

we talk about the sale of their smooth, young flesh.

We’d rather hear Simon sing, rather do anything,

Take our mothers for ice-cream, get her garden seeds.

We can’t think about our daughters herded at gunpoint,

that kind of rebel grandchildren, about if they return

will there be a gray zone for them to walk back into

without tongues clacking and eyes downcast?

Will they be allowed to speak of the unspeakable?

Will the village remember they’re children, school girls who rose

in red uniforms when the teacher called their names.


“”But I would not give you false hope on this strange and mournful day

when the mother and child reunion is only a motion away”

“Mother and Child Reunion,” from Paul Simon’s masterpiece, Graceland.

“Mother and Child Reunion,” from Paul Simon’s masterpiece, Graceland.


Editor’s note: Mark your calendars for next weekend’s inaugural Telluride Literary Festival. (Click here for a full schedule of events and/or see Related Post on TIO.) Award-winning author Pam Houston will be in town and Kierstin and four other talented women writers – Amy Irvine McHarg, Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, Sarah Gilman, Ellen Marie Metrick –are featured in a wild and crazy evening of “Literary Burlesque.” With emcee author Craig Childs, the ladies perform intensely vulnerable and revealing poetry, a removing of layers through words, costumes, and projected imagery. Be at Ah Haa, Friday, May 16, 8 p.m.

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