It was the first time
my baby girl
looked right through me
like I wasn’t there,
the first time I ordered the dog off
the bed and she wouldn’t budge.
It was the second
necklace I tried with my new dress,
the one that made clear
my worst features, like
the extra skin I’ve grown this winter
on my upper arms.
It was coming out to five hundred people
from the stage –
as if I hadn’t come out,
publicy and privately,
five hundred times before.
It wasn’t that.
It was being on stage with a script in hand.
It was aiming my voice towards the mic.
It was walking in a way that wouldn’t rip
my new dress. It was jitters for opening night.
It was reading my story on stage.
It was my stomach plummeting.
It was the sensation
of applying eyeliner
backstage before the show,
my hands shaking.
It would dissipate
the moment I stepped into the light.
But when I stepped out again,
would it return?
Listen to Your Mother Chicago plays at the Anatheneum Theatre on May 5th. I’ll be on stage in a bright, block-colored dress, along with some beautiful and powerful writers. We’ll be sharing stories on motherhood – being mothers and having them. Click here for more info, or to buy tickets.
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30 poems in 30 days.