As I sit and scribble madly away
And tell Jared to find patience
Jonah peers over my shoulder and whispers,
"I think she's almost done." But Lauren knows: "No."
They leave me to grade
Surrounded by towering white wrinkled stacks
A red pen in one hand
The other buried, a claw, in tumbled wild curls.
And whilst I am lost in the land
Of misused homophones and elusive commas,
They set the table, fold their laundry,
Wait patiently for me to emerge.
Sadly, I crawl from that desperate land
Long after they have passed into dreams.
And as I bend over their soft sweet cheeks,
Breathing deep and smoothing damp curls
I weep inside at the hours and minutes
I have placated them with empty promises
My fingers wrapped too tightly around that pen
Instead of twining with their yet-small fingers.
And I resolve that next week, I will say no.
I will leave the work at school and come home
To them with an empty satchel and open arms
And time to listen to their dreams.
At least for a few days of five, I will be a mother
More than a teacher:
Giving my family the woman they need
Instead of the shell they've grown to accept.