Tessa, A Mother’s Song


Mary Cassatt, The Child’s Bath (1893)

I’d put a crucifix on love, my love
pinned in blood, sticky heat–
blissed out, erotic-ecstatic

We’re pudgy as puddles.
Like soap sliding into basin
bubbly sweet, washing the dirt off;
smelling like peach.

Oh what Eureka as
you played with the angels
pulling a wagon, in a breath
wreathed in breast.

Prompt: This is one from Mary Cassatt’s maternity series. It conveys the intimacy and trust between mother and child, does it not? Mothering is a very physical experience. It’s like physicality multiplied many times because it is tied to rituals of feeding and washing–bathing the child, breast-feeding, diapering etc etc. It’s pretty ineffable an experience. The painting is enhanced by the decorative elements which were influenced by Japanese woodblocks, which the artist had seen at the Beaux-Arts Academy in Paris in 1890. The basin appears to be aesthetically paired with the vase in the composition.




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