The Western-Faced Compass

I fixed my happiness on it,

stamped my seal on the forehead

of a child to be born decades from that moment,

a child whose existence would solidify my own,

give weight and mortar to the ruins

my parents made of me.

But I would do it right.

I’d play my role dressed all in blue,

sigh slightly at misdoings

and know the quiet calmness

that comes from an indissoluble link,

an anchor firmly sunk into the breast of another.


When was the decision made?

the heart obscured to determine

true peace would be possible

only in the possession of a cradle,

the clinging to a title far too easily earned

that so often rends its holders invisible.

I am the wheel and rudders of this vessel,

and a turn from domesticity

should not disturb the waters

under this boundless fleet.

It it does, I must trouble those seasick wayfarers

to ask themselves

how my taking leave from their race

impacts their journey,

other than to remind them uncomfortably

of their ability to choose?


Day 29: Another’s Space

Do I want to be a mother?

Do I want to grow a person in my body,

or bring a child into my life?

Can I let myself expand till the Universe fits inside?

Do I want to give birth? The gift of birth.

The opportunity to live and move and have a being?

Do I want to feed and nurture? The phrase to me

conjures soft fur, lapping tongues, and the pads of paws.

Can I look into a perfect baby’s eyes,

put my whole heart in their chubby little hands,

and send them off on a yellow bus

for life to have its wicked way with them?

Do I want to attempt to teach another soul

the ropes of a human life when I’m still

dangling from them with my hands tied?

Can I handle another being’s tantrums as well as my own?

Someone else’s deep sensitivities?

Can I surrender to all the ways I will screw up?

The things I will say wrong,

or the decisions that will destroy them?

Can I handle other parents,

the judgments or the over-protection?

Do I want to help with homework,

do spelling tests and algebraic equations?

Can I split the attention and love

I want – I need – to devote to a partner?

Do I want to deal with the screaming, the biting,

the door slamming or the rejection?

Can I walk my germophobic feet into an elementary school

full of sneezing and dirty hands?

Or do I just want to see space reflected in an innocent face,

let their hand curl around my finger,

coo over how sweetly they smile,

and then return them to their mother,

and go home where my own universe

waits in bed with a wife

and assorted animals.



P.S. If you like, check out my Etsy store and support The Humane League!