Whenever I touch the tough patches on my feet,
I wonder if I could pass as a lady.
I have soft arches, spots which have rarely touched the earth.
But the balls of my feet are solid.
I can tap on them and they talk back to me.
I remember The Moon Lady, Gone with the Wind,
and that episode of the Simpsons.
A rich girl’s feet, a lady’s hands, a seamstress’ finger.
Where am I on this spectrum of skin?
Am I Girl of the Limberlost solid?
Am I Grapes of Wrath durable?
What do I get to aspire to be,
When my feet are hard from walking on gravel
and my hands are tough from climbing up trees?
I tap my feet and wonder –
Do ladies get to have such fine things as callouses?
In the process of doing things, I have forgotten to write.
Also, I’m DMing a big campaign, and I find much of my energy is going into that creative process. It’s difficult to remember to write poetry and stories, when I’m working on world and character building.
So, I apologize for the hiatus. I will try to do better!
Women sit in the padded beige chairs, glued to phones.
There is no eye contact.
There is no fear to match possibility.
Nurses in pale pink uniforms sing out surnames
And whisper “this way” in the necessary languages
To assuage the tightness in our shoulders.
Fear makes my answers sound hopelessly dumb
I am suddenly ignorant, thick-tongued, and demure.
I settle in and strap down into fear.
Let it stretch my stomach lining,
Poke my kidneys,
Cramp my guts,
Tingle the part of my spine in my neck,
Until I cannot see anything except possibilities,
Looming, turning into solid, horrible, truths.
In stillness my ears fill
With all the sounds I have not heard.
The tree falling,
The waterfall crashing,
The whale singing,
A silence so profound
I cannot hope to quiet it.
Perhaps this is why in stillness
I must shift and pace –
So that I may not hear
All that I have yet to hear.
I take the sound waves passing through me
And translate them to keyboard clicks,
Stovetop fans, and loud swallowing.
Anything to contribute
To the cacophonous silence around me.
My name is proficient, businesslike.
It has the ability to be punctual.
It requires little effort.
Yet when sighed in pleasure, or called in happiness,
My ears gloss over the familiar corners of my identity
And turn my name into a new conglomeration
Composed of unfamiliar vowels and consonants.
I cannot hear my name spoken in joy.
It sounds foreign, a strange sound of exaltation.
That surely cannot be my name.
You cannot be referring to me.
That would mean that my name has other capabilities
Beyond my standard identifiers.
Who is this person you speak of?
Honesty politely asks I remind you
How often we fought over absolutely nothing.
How I held the needle that brought you pain,
But also made you laugh in the face of the Reaper
Who sat politely by the bedside, waiting.
Love was the undercurrent under our arguments.
We did not live in flowers, we did not bring hearts to each other.
We clashed as Amazons, and snarled like lions.
And when you left, I could not bear the joy of others.
Their sentiments made me wretch.
Their sugar hurt my molars.
Because they denied the truth of love,
Which is it survives and thrives in the blasted furrows
And binds the sharp edges of broken hearts.
Yet in the passing of time, I can take their flowers and hearts
And recognize our truth within them.
How we fought.
How we loved despite it.
Happy Mother’s Day.