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Why a Low Birthrate

February 23, 2017

Life was a blur

An immigrant in a Man’s World / Why the Birth Rate is Low

I applied after years of observation in a co-ed public school,
and flew into the world of sexual freedom on the birth control pill.

I revelled in my new land: sex without pregnancy and equal pay;
I had found where I wanted to live.

I honoured my origins with makeup,
with my bra and boots as flag, I declared my background
in this new land I loved.

Then the man who supported his wife spoke to the
“rising young man” who supported his wife
in a language I didn’t understand, and wasn’t supposed to hear.

But this was my place; I had earned my way and arrived here
and I belonged, I insisted.

Then my birthright called, and called.
I decided to see if a child would come
while I stayed in this world
of old men and “rising young men”
(and women who knew their places).

It was a slow gestation and a hard birth.
Women whispered to me and men looked away.
The wives who were supported accused me
of inadequacies, and the old men
reminded me that I had to keep up
to the men who had wives who succoured them.

I had friends and a good mate, but it was a hard land,
a hard time and place, living as a stowaway in a man’s world,
too tired and busy to organize a union with the other stowaways,
to have our citizenship in the world of work
recognized, and our needs as parents honoured.

The nanny was not a wife, good to my daughter
but leaving for her life when I arrived home.
My mate was there, and helped, but we both
assumed
I was the mother, with all that had meant
before I’d emigrated
to the man’s world.

So I became neither and both, a mother
living in a man-shaped world –
watching a meeting while breastfeeding,
watching the man who supported his wife scheduling
to help another man who supported his wife,

ignoring my mothering needs requests.

I persisted,
both mother and job-holder,

but blocked the chance
of another child.

Gethsemane Time

February 7, 2017

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Gethsemane – is a garden at the foot of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, most famous as the place where Jesus prayed and his disciples slept the night before Jesus’ crucifixion.

I

Constant twilight,
Constant sound:
The bleeping heartbeat
Bumping along:

Gethsemane time.

Naming the losses,
Watching them grow:
The unknown husband,
The useless hands:

Gethsemane time.

Body morphing,
Mind mutating:
Light dying,
No escape:

Gethsemane time.

II

They sit together, his arm holding her, the woman who was,
and is no longer there
to answer or demand, while
he keeps trying to share:

Gethsemane time.

He talks with his friend, as they speak of nothings
and not of wives; while they avoid
the questions that have no answers,
except endings:

Gethsemane time.

He returns to the house that looks like home
and smells of her absence
while nothing can repair the silences and spaces
waiting for him:

Gethsemane time.

 

Caught

January 18, 2017

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Caught between my mirror
and blackouts, my mother and hope
twisting around to glare into
headlights and greasy black highways
behind me …

I don’t want to be here, but
to stand entwined, taking Communion

as if I were holy
as if I could hide from the whale’s lesson
as if I could pray

Intimations of Mortality

January 5, 2017

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Walking to the coffeeshop,
with my glasses off,
I stumble and fall.

Falling asleep with my glasses on,
I dream of empty coffins,
and watches.

Reading emailed obituaries
sent by old acquaintances
I hit “Delete”

before I’m finished.

 

 

My Trickster Silver Shoes

December 24, 2016

Silver shoes
My Trickster Silver Shoes
I saw a picture, and I searched
And found, on sale,

My silver trickster shoes.

Beautiful on, my silver shoes,
But when I walked, they slipped and rubbed,

My painful silver shoes.

I took them off and gave them to
A friend with sturdier feet,

My poor-fitting silver shoes.

One early morning in my closet
I saw again the silver shoes,

My absent silver shoes.

A dream, a phantasm,
A joke, a delusion,

My trickster silver shoes.

Things Change

December 19, 2016

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Things Change

The name I used to murmur in delight
Now I sob over in the night.
Things change.

The woman I used to find so annoying
Now I watch, envious and admiring
Things change.

The work I loved and did so well
I’ve left behind; I lost the joy.
Things change.

The fear I carried so long and deep
I look at now and no longer weep.

Things change.

Hagland

December 8, 2016

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The crone arrives like an undesired lover
leaving
the shape of my body
mutating.

Like an adolescent girl, I sense
changes
within:
unsought losses, unclear gifts.

I rage and sleep,
weep unwillingly,
demand more,
desire less.

There are no fairy tales here,
no promise of princes and beautiful gowns,
only
the crone’s belly
and a different cloak of invisibility.

1997