Waiting Around

by Trish Hopkinson

It so happens, I am tired of being a woman.
And it happens while I wait for my children to grow 
into the burning licks of adulthood. The streaks
of summer sun have gone,

drained between gaps into gutters,
and the ink-smell of report cards and recipe boxes
cringes me into corners. Still I would be satisfied
if I could draw from language
the banquet of poets.

If I could salvage the space in time
for thought and collect it
like a souvenir. I can no longer 
be timid and quiet, breathless

and withdrawn.
I can’t salve the silence.
I can’t be this vineyard
to be bottled, corked,
cellared, and shelved.

That’s why the year-end gapes with pointed teeth,
growls at my crow’s feet, and gravels into my throat.
It claws its way through the edges of an age 
I never planned to reach

and diffuses my life into dullness— 
workout rooms and nail salons,
bleach-white sheets on clotheslines,
and treacherous photographs of younger me
at barbecues and birthday parties.

I wait. I hold still in my form-fitting camouflage. 
I put on my strong suit and war paint lipstick
and I gamble on what’s expected. 
And what to become. And how
to behave: mother, wife, brave.

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