A Young Mother On Campus

graduatingCan I change my image of what a poet and writer is?
I picture a young woman, whimsical, dancing with every inspiring thought,charming the flowers and trees into words that sink into people to teach them beauty.
She sighs.
She sits alone and hides secrets with a grin until they are all ready to be spoken.
Her worries are minimal.
She thinks about what to wear.
My imaginary poet doesn’t change dirty diapers or research how to save money.
She doesn’t sing “Wheels on the Bus” for babies.
She’s vivacious.
She naps because she wants to, not because she has to.
Not because she nursed a crying baby three times last night.
My poet is sharp.
She doesn’t forget things, especially not groceries because she is not concerned for three other tummies, and she most definitely doesn’t use the word tummies.
This writer drinks tea and blended coffee because that is the drug beatnik poor artists use.
She doesn’t drink Earl Grey to stay awake or ask if the coffee is decaf because it might affect and eight month old sleeping.
She carries pens in her purse, not crayons.
She finishes sentences.
If my writer is a wife, she decorates with antiques that make her home feel like a sanctuary of colorful creative rooms. The details she has worked into every rug,curtain, and coffee table combination make guests jump to admiration.
There are not things as common and plastic as Bristle blocks and fake food.
She doesn’t have to hope for a clean table to serve dinner.
It is cloaked with a seasonal table runner that she made and dried flowers rest in a carefully chosen glass vase.
My poet is not a mother.
She is not pregnant or sore from carrying babies.
Her nipples aren’t sensitive because they are changing.
They are young and unstretched and feel untouched every time.
Her feet are dirty because she was running in fields of summer flowers
Not because she stepped in soggy cereal milk.
She does her hair as she pleases
Not as a toddler asks her to.
There are earrings and broaches adorning my poet’s ears and sweaters
Bought after carefully scouring thrift stores with her spare time.
She doesn’t have to hide her jewelry in drawers and at the back of dressers.
She wears flowy skirts and scarves
Not practical gym shoes and replaceable jeans.
She doesn’t fear stains.
My poet smells like spring
Not like laundry detergent.
My poet woman has time to make love.
Quickies are for flirting, not for necessity
But. But.
This woman does not know what it is like to see a baby clap for the first time.
Or open her arms to the tiny person that wants to be comforted by her alone.
She can’t write or understand what it is like to love a man by bearing his child.
She has not felt the swell of milk for a hungry mouth.
She has not been through a day where her goal is for others to live.
She has lived to be looked at, not to care for.
This poet doesn’t know the joy of play-doh or a playground.
That poet so far away is unaware how wonderful it is to see the pincher grasp mastered.
The relief of a sleeping child.
The ability to be romanced by dish washing.
To believe that she is beautiful with mismatched socks and white baking flour in her hair.
She doesn’t know about the richness in responsibility.
She thinks those things are caging.
She knows love to be charming and flattering, not bare and vulnerable.
But she will learn that trial and sacrifice and what she thought common are more poetic than perfume.
She will learn that flowers bloom more fully after much rain.
That mud is life giving.
She will learn that a poet can hold a pen and a baby.
A poet can wear one ring from one man as her only jewelry and not lack.
She will learn to hold hands with her husband and push a swing with the other.
She will learn.
She will change her picture of poet, and she will learn that it is more peaceful to live a poem written by Someone greater than to write her own.


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