Reluctant Inhabitant

A Danish woman with blond dreadlocks drives up
in a newish Subaru, its bumper dent a concave bowl, to buy
her barefoot boy—also blond, curly echo of my grown sons—
a breakfast burrito. Hermit I’ve become, I see her each time

I drive through town to pick up mail or milk: there she is
perched on low walls across the street from the pub,
or on a coffee house bench, bright summer dress flowing,
sipping matcha, calling to her children in a sister tongue.

Early motherhood granted me a similar, darker beauty,
that lonely freedom. I hungered for any confirming glance
for proof I was more than untouchable mother-flesh,
reluctant inhabitant of that mortifying ambivalence.

2020

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