Happy Mother’s Day to All Y’all

A blessed day to all who know the joy of watching tiny wrinkled people grow up before your eyes as well the enormous fun of following those people around cleaning up their messes and reminding them to mind their manners.

I’m reposting my favorite poem, my “Mother” work, if you will. When I wrote it, I could not imagine how fast the next decade would speed by nor the challenges and wonders in store. Though the little calamari fingers described below have grown into full-sized man hands, I am ever perplexed and bouyed by motherhood’s lessons. I maintain that one of the most important ones is to mother oneself, to nurture our own bodies and souls as lovingly as we do our children’s.

For those of you close by, I’ll be performing this along with some very talented Savannah people next Saturday, May 18 as part of the Blank Page Poetry Event at Indigo Sky Gallery. Hope to see you there!

One True Poem From A Housewife

This morning all I ask
Is for a wee bit of wisdom before these tasks:
The laundry, the dishes, my children’s needs and wishes
The packing, the stacking, the order the house is lacking
The cooking, the cleaning and I guess I should think about weaning…
But today I can’t find meaning in any of it.

Even though I know
This is the work the world cannot do without
I want to shout “There has been some mistake! I was not supposed to have this ordinary life!”
See, when I became a wife
I had this notion I could still go far, learn how to play guitar, be a rock star
But now that I am a mother, with only seconds sprinkled throughout the day for other, grander dreams
It seems those aspirations vaguely float around my head
Whisper who I meant to be as I make the beds, poach the eggs
Search for the self I still hope to become but find mismatched socks instead.

I stand in an old, old house that slopes in the kitchen
And I reckon the heart of any home is in that dip in front of the sink
It’s enough to drive me to drink to think of some other woman who stood here before
Growing old on this here slanted floor
And I fear there’ll be nothing left of me in fifteen years

But I banish that thought right from my brain
Because I’m not going to go insane
Not just because I have too much to do
But because it just doesn’t have to be true
Not if I revel in this choice
Use my voice
I’m going to do these fucking dishes for all womankind!
And find the courage to rescue my dreams from the trees
As well as shoulder God’s greatest responsibility:
Beating the heart of a family.

So what I have today is this:
A Cheerio-scented morning kiss
Constant companionship while I piss
Tiny fingers like calamari wrapped around my wrist
The list is longer than what I could possibly miss from some fantasy of my future
I can still suture together a poem or two
Cobble the truth with words and glue
Poetry saves me every day
What saves you?

So as I stand at the sink on this slanted floor
Thinking of the woman who stood here before
And finally comes the wisdom that I’ve been asking for:

What is Now
Is what is True
No matter how mundane, how boring, how depressing, how plain
So you see, I will not go insane
No, that will not be me
I will find a way to stay free

But right now I’ve got to take my place
With grace
In the face
Of ordinary.

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