Just Two Weeks

Listen to a reading of “Just Two Weeks”:

I stand here before you
in my mother’s hand-me-downs,
in this world where mothers must work like they don’t have children
and parent like they don’t have jobs,
keeping households running and bills paid
while their hearts run around outside their bodies
on tiny little legs that don’t yet know where the wolves are,
but don’t you dare over-mother them,
or under-mother them,
or get anything wrong while treading laundry
and kung fuing the kitchen
and, oh yeah,
if you could save the world from nuclear armageddon
and environmental collapse when you get a minute
that’d be great.

I stand here before you
in my mother’s hand-me-downs,
with my mother’s strangled voice,
and my mother’s Pinesol hands,
and my mother’s weeping back,
and my mother’s feral chores,
and my mother’s loving patience,
and my mother’s gritted teeth,
and my mother’s inner beauty
that you never get to see —
her inner world of unheard symphonies
and unpainted art
and oceans of sleeping babies,
neatly stuffed into a housecoat
drowned out by a Helen Reddy song.

I stand here before you
in my mother’s hand-me-downs,
glaring with crosshair eyes at eelfaced manipulators
who blacken the children’s sky,
who poison my children’s water,
who microplastic my children’s blood,
who scorch my children’s Earth
to turn billionaires into trillionaires,
vowing “I see you,
I’ll stop you,
right after this dentist appointment,
right after this assignment,
right after these taxes,
right after this to-do list,
I’ll be ready to stop you
in, like, two more weeks, maybe,
or maybe two weeks after that.”

I stand here before you
in my mother’s hand-me-downs,
with my mother’s intuition
(two eyes in the back of her head —
“I can see what you are doing!”),
but my many eyes can only glance
before more dishes pile up
before the to-do list unfurls  —
I’ll get to it, I’ll get to you,
I’ll stop you,
I will,
I see what you are doing,
I just need to take the kids to daycare
but make the sandwiches first
and stop off on the way to work
for a part to fix the air con
before the summer comes
before the heat you stoked
with dinosaur bones
and Canary Island loopholes
and the infantile ambitions
of impotent men
hits our little rental
(that I’m so grateful to have
so grateful I am
on-my-hands-and-knees grateful
your-cock-in-my-throat grateful
please don’t kick us out we love you we do)
like a solar wind storm
barbecuing my children
in this tent made of weatherboards
like a tiny funeral pyre
for bad women,
naughty witches,
ladies flying solo
who need to be put in their place.

Just two weeks.
Just two weeks.
Just two weeks more.
Just two weeks and I’ll sit in silence for while.
Just two weeks and I’ll write this all down.
Just two weeks I need to get this stuff done.
Just two weeks.
Just two weeks.
Just two weeks,
and I’ll stop you.


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