Listen

20 Apr

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.

*   *   *   *   *

National Poetry Writing Month:

30 poems in 30 days.

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