Out of the Mouths of Babes

Sarah Ruhl

Poem for weary mothers

for Sherry Mason


What you don’t imagine when you’re pregnant:


The fevers, the falls, the nights without end.

How worry will become a placeholder for thought.

How your son will come to your elbow

when you’re writing and say: mom, can I poop here?


How worry will become a placeholder for thought;

thought banished to some previous life in some

forgotten temple of stupid seeming solitude.


Pink medicine and nebulizers and the fight to

put on socks, cough drops buried in your purse

along with forgotten cheese.


How worry will become a kind of companion,

like another heart, or lung.




how nothing will ever smell as good as your

boy’s hair, when the sunlight hits it.


Sarah Ruhl






About Sarah Ruhl

Sarah Ruhl’s Plays include In the Next Room, or the vibrator play (Pulitzer Prize finalist, Tony Award nominee for best new play), The Clean House (Pulitzer Prize Finalist, 2005; The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, 2004); Passion Play, a cycle (Pen American award, The Fourth Freedom Forum Playwriting Award from The Kennedy Center); Dead Man’s Cell Phone (Helen Hayes award); Melancholy Play; Eurydice; Orlando, Demeter in the City (NAACP nomination), Late: a cowboy song, Three Sisters, and most recently, Stage Kiss and Dear Elizabeth.

Her plays have been produced on Broadway at the Lyceum by Lincoln Center Theater, off-Broadway at Playwrights’ Horizons, Second Stage, and at Lincoln Center’s Mitzi Newhouse Theater, and downtown at Clubbed Thumb and Classic Stage Company. Her plays have been produced regionally all over the country, with premieres at Yale Repertory Theater, the Goodman Theater, Berkeley Repertory Theater, Arena Stage, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Madison Repertory Theater, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Cornerstone Theater, and the Piven Theatre Workshop in Chicago.

Her plays have also been produced internationally in London, Germany, Australia, Canada and Israel, and have been translated into Polish, Russian, Spanish, Norwegian, Korean, German and Arabic.

Originally from Chicago, Ms. Ruhl received her M.F.A. from Brown University where she studied with Paula Vogel. In 2003, she was the recipient of the Helen Merrill Emerging Playwrights Award and the Whiting Writers’ Award. She was a member of 13P and of New Dramatists and won the MacArthur Fellowship in 2006. She was recently the recipient of the PEN Center Award for a mid-career playwright, the Feminist Press’ Forty under Forty award, and the 2010 Lilly Award. She is currently on the faculty at Yale School of Drama and lives in Brooklyn with her family.

Read Sarah’s review of Little Labors, by Rivka Glachen here.

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