Tuesday, October 20, 2020

The Average Mother by Camille T. Dungy

The Average Mother

The average mother loses 700 hours of sleep in the first year of her child’s life; or, what that first year taught me about America.
Most of us favor one side when we walk. As we tire,
we lean into that side and stop moving in a straight line—
                        so it takes longer to get anywhere,
let alone home.
                        In wilderness conditions,
            where people don’t know the terrain,
a tired person might end up leaning so far into one side
            they’ll walk in a circle rather than straight ahead.
It can kill you, such leaning
                        —and it can get you killed.
                                                Rest helps.
                                                                        I told my husband,
I walked in a circle in my mind but you came out okay.
                        Initially, he asked me to clarify,
            but then he let it go.
Who wrote that first If You Lived Here You’d Be Home by Now sign? 
                        It seems I’m going to have to move.
            I am tired and also sick
of helping other people in lieu of helping myself.
                        Rest now.
It's really not that bad: we’re in the home stretch.
            That’s the mind of a parent.
Relentless optimism in the face of sheer panic
                                                                        and exhaustion. 

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