A spoken-word poem by Ana María Caballero. Written in her signature straightforward style, this text forms part of her prize-winning book MAMMAL.

Caballero is a recipient of the Steel Toe Books 2022 Poetry Prize, the Beverly International Prize , and Colombia’s National José Manuel Arango Prize. Her writing, which has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, a Best of the Net, and been a finalist for the Academy of American Poets Prize, rips the veil off romanticized motherhood and questions notions that package female sacrifice as a virtue. Much of what she writes can be read at


First Born

How am I supposed to sleep
when I give birth tomorrow?

Rest now

because you will never
sleep again,

the erstwhile
pregnant mothers claim.

Never shall I state
such a fruitless thing

to a woman swelling life

with this newness
who gets hungry

and has a cry

at night.