Brown-Davidson’s Self-Centered Poem(s)
Terri Brown-Davidson

I want to write the ultimate solipsistic poem,
the one that will construct itself around Me as the Universe
and not the “Universal Me,” either, but the rank, selfish,
bed-loving sybarite I become on Saturdays,
my sole day off from the dust-bunnies and crabby howls
my existence has dwindled to
though any nomenclature’s uncertain
for labeling a life that’s much poorer defined than the existence
I constructed in my decadent, more mental youth,
a life that consisted of wine-tasting book parties
and sleek cocktail affairs in New York City, Chicago,
my newest novel on display, the glossy trade cover
attracting all eyes as lasciviously as I, in a cut-to-there
black sheath, magnetized my adoring fans. And now—
this is what I have. This mewling daughter, spit-up caking
one cheek. Her dark, half-dreaming eyes, open yet eerily
asleep. A Stephen-King life this isn’t. But it has its pleasures, yes.
Its vicissitudes. And its depths. My baby’s bed smells,
heartwarmingly, of urine, an odor I would have cringed from previously
but now find aromatic, as I do the scent of the Snoopy blankie
she sucks on when she’s worried or depressed,
hoisting the damp end into her sticky mouth,
thrusting the blankie with great insistence toward my nostrils,
mumbling her pre-talk version of “Momma—isn’t this stink divine?”
These moments are less sustaining than character-building, perhaps.
Before I had a child, I never recognized that I had one.
A character, I mean.
I was a writer and a writer only.
Then, I adopted Mei Li.
And motherhood leveled me,
built me back up to the Brown-Davidson I became after,
loving, solipsistic, goddesslike in the strangest ways.