I turned middle aged very rapidly
since taking on this desk job,
I noticed it today, when for the first,
sad time, i disrobed in the office bathroom
which was pretty bold, as there are
seven stalls, i flipped off my flimsy dress
(yeah, I’m still wearing those)
to check for ticks, and i didn’t like
what I was seeing. It looked like
the underwear of a teen,
misfitted onto an elderly woman
and for the first time, i prayed
that no one would walk in.
I drove home listening to talk radio
not even dancing my hand out the window
to inappropriate music, which I would’ve done
just six months ago. I got home
and laid down, all the while thinking
I bet my puppy wishes he had
a more energetic mom
who could really play with him.
It’s a good thing I’ll never have
children, I guess, and then
I thought of those poetry readings
Those all night poetry readings
that sometimes, as the room quieted,
Auntie Tina would hobble in
and take the stage, waving at her cane
social worker-ing her poetry as
emergency survival meetings
for the impoverished community
She said, we’re rich in poetry,
but sometimes, i know, its hard
to get out of bed. Sometimes,
i don’t think I’ll make it, and
I know, from listening
to you beautiful souls
that I’m not alone in this
So I want you all to envision
a toolbox, and tell me
what tools are in it.
Some chose glass and
some chose wooden-some
had their dogs or artwork in it
As I’m lying in bed, remembering,
I think of a literal box,
under the sink, in the kitchen
that has some antidepressants
I was prescribed then but hadn’t taken;
I fell in love, or got published
and decided I didn’t need them.
At the time, I thought, I’ll save these
for a real emergency. They are orange.
And the time is now. They are survival.
I think of Auntie Tina, and I
take my toolbox out.