Baby-making season has come and gone, again.
Young women who drank Moscato and complained
of glass ceilings have become heavy breasted,
their children’s dinner always within reach.
As a child, I dreamt of babies, bottles, booties.
There was a flow chart with marriage at the top
with a child every two years until there were three.
That life is distant, a dream destroyed by an internal
clock, psych meds, and doctor’s appointments written
in red on a wall calendar filled with insipid quotes
telling me when doors close, windows open.
Meds that kill every foreign cell require condoms, the pill.
I am a woman of a certain age staring into a future of empty
dinner tables, full pill boxes, and a house no one calls home.
The wolf at the door has been
quiet these past three years.
I’ve stacked books, chairs,
paper weights, my marriage
license under the knob.
Lately I’ve heard knocks,
scratches, an occasional
growl. I married a kind man
thinking this would keep me
safe, but I can be so mean
the doorframe shakes.
I forget the promises I made
on an October day threatening
rain when I walked down an aisle
dressed in ivory as shadows grow long.
My husband can go through
our front door whenever he pleases,
but I leave through
the garage hoping
to bypass any reminder
of the life that left me
with scars along
my upper arms.
Mother says I have
Aunt Mary’s arms
soft, no muscle, good
for cradling a baby.
A child would ask
the questions my husband
My child would know
the monster is real.
After looking at my scars, you pulled down
my sleeves kissed my forehead. You could
have put me back, but you gave me
a little house
There will never be children
with little toes on cold hardwood; my
medication kills whatever dares
to grow inside.
I don’t mind, you whisper,
we’ll practice field maneuvers
Photo via queensofvintage.com.
Carrie L. Krucinski is poet and English adjunct living in Elyria, Ohio with her husband, Steven, and two dogs. Her work has recently been published in, or is forthcoming from, The Broken Plate, Critical Pass Review, The Stockholm Review of Literature, Lehigh Valley Vanguard, and Hotel Amerika. She also writes a blog, If Rain Permits, which deals with feminism, mental illness, and creative writing.