I Gave Away My Beauty

I gave away

my beauty

to my daughter

The light in my eyes

burning dimmer

more compassionately.

The wrinkles,


in the creases.

Apron belly replacing

a pair of 11’s

I once worked hard

to achieve

like it mattered.

Only a mother could know

the broken self

remaining after building

a human.

Pieces of me pulled out of

bones and dreams and plasma

incomplete now forever in body and soul

without my child.

Joints, bones creak on unsteady knees

Joints smoking peppermint sushi horsebackriding

mothers give up


They sacrifice

time- hobbies, youth, sleep.

The reflection in the mirror

now only tolerable

with her next to me in it.

What did my mother give up?

What was stolen through the

umbilical cord?

You stripped the enamel off 

my teeth,

she accused,

I had hemorrhoids from 


my heart was never the same,

empty without you in it.


It could have been worse—

Some mothers become allergic

to shrimp.

The secret to motherhood is


Loss of hair identity

muscle calcium 20/20 vision

identity friends


An exchange

molecule for molecule

what is taken is given freely.

What was lost—?





I’d give it away again. 

Originally published in Only a Season (Bottlecap Features, 2024).


In the same year

that I made a human

my husband embarked on

the greatest journey of his

young, capable life.

The year I built

an extra set of

bones and teeth

a second heart

arranging them into a breathing body

he assembled glass

slices of wood

pillars and beams

into a house.

While he made a home,

I was a home.

When I was done being a home,

he provided one.

I know no greater examples of craftsmanship than these.

The journey took him one year

and me

just short of

nine months.

For us to go from

container to container.

Each building a masterpiece

from our own fluids

in our own ways.

Every square inch



This is what it meant to be partners.

We were fluids

pouring into each other

taking turns doing the holding.

Meanwhile the Earth is mother to

all mothers


Forever holding us.

This is what it means to be



Originally published in Only a Season (Bottlecap Features, 2024).

Svetlana Litvinchuk is a permaculture consultant and farmer who holds BAs from the University of New Mexico. Her debut chapbook, Only a Season (Bottlecap Features, 2024) is now available and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Sky Island Journal, Eunoia Review, Big Windows Review, and Longhouse Press. Originally from Kyiv, Ukraine, she now lives with her husband and daughter on their organic farm in the Arkansas Ozarks.