Graphite sketch of butterfly pea flower in dark green
  • CW for references to infertility and giving up newborns for adoption
  • TW for discussing sexual violence
  • TW for references to blood and traumatic injury

Oyako Donburi, The Cauldron Anthology

Originally published in the "Mother" edition of The Cauldron Anthology, February 2022, p.54
Pea Flower Tomioka

Oyako Donburi

To my dragon makers, breathing fire into the world
Birthing creativity shorn from colorful bolts
Tiny wings unfolding themes designed to inspire the children
who need dragon levels of protection-
learning to love themselves despite
a world that refuses to accept them.

You are no less Khaleesi for the stillness of your sewing machine.
You are Mother of Dragons, no matter how many you sew,
because the weight of the mother role is never measured
by how many children you produce,

but by how well you love them.

To the mother without
Struggling to hold her passing years
in empty armfuls-
watching the wonder through the lens of science and
the humanity of it is reduced
in shining instruments and waiting rooms
with expired magazines.
The act of creation feels less personal when it’s so clinical,
and you’ve been told that the path to motherhood
is supposed to be messy.
Messy sheets, messy kisses, the eagerness of
exploration for more messy things-
a sensory delight across the dancing surface of our tongues.

But that first kindled flame lost to the failure of
science’s shining promise
brings a wreckage in uncertainty and personal shame,
and you spill the tears and the blood-
Each cramp a bullet into your heart
because feeling this death is messy
And the anguish is messy
And the heartbreak is messy
Contextualized against the sterility of modern medicine-
A dichotomy marking your official transition
from Maiden to Mother
as the blood washes reset through your body.

Your maiden’s path is ended, as this mess brands you as Mother forever.

To the frightened girl
Forced into maturity too soon by dirty minds and hungry hands
The age of innocence ripped away
Your maidenhood lost to the violence of rape
Your childhood burned at the altar of Father
No magic can undo this damage.
No poem can quell the child you had to raise yourself.
No words will burn truth into your Mother’s Heart
because some stones are too brittle to mark.

They just burst violence and dusty memories.

You nursed the wounds yourself.
You minded each bruised rib, and every tear- each ripped space
Delicate fingers and handheld mirrors
to nurse the axis of your own transition from
Maiden to Mother so young, watching the blood drip onto reflections of his violence
A blurred treble imagery through your tears
Burning dragon scales hot white rage down your cheeks.
I don’t have answers for you. I don’t have promises,
or hope,
because we do unto others that which we can’t do for ourselves.
But I do love you. Your bravery. Your perseverance. And I’m proud of the mother we have become despite the people who raised you because even broken blooms are beautiful
And beauty is still powerful.

And you are. Powerful, I mean.

Tomioka, Pea Flower.  "Oyako Donburi" Mother, The Cauldron Anthology, February 2022.
Handwritten, cursive signature says "pea flower tea" in lowercase letters. The flower is a small sketch of a bloom, instead of the word for "flower".

About the author

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Pea is an artist focused on building an art therapy platform through transformative art and positive erotica to help victims of sexual violence reclaim their power. She lives on a small island and hides from loud noises.