Five Minutes

This week’s Wednesday poem I am dedicating to Sume.
This was one of the first poems I wrote while I was a stay-at-home mom.
This is for you, Sume, and all you other mothers and writers.

Five Minutes

Like Persephone, I walk between two worlds,
One of macaroni and cheese, Girl Scout meetings,
and Saturday trips to the grocery store.

In the morning, bleary-eyed mothers gather at the park.
Wrinkled and stained,
we talk about the pressing problems of our times;
how much our kids eat, sleep and shit.

In the evening, my mother-in-law calls with the latest news-
Grandma sleeps through the night
she is able to eat solids now
and has no more diarrhea.

Shaking loose the gathered thoughts of my day
in between peanut butter sandwiches,
scattered crayons and rinse cycles
I find or steal five minutes of frantic, half-written sentences
scratched on spiral notebooks or
the back side of school menus.
I am afforded an athlete’s second wind
breathing into my lungs enough hope to
make it through dinner, baths, pajamas and lullabyes.

Late at night I fall into the other part of me,
of pungent kimchee, clove cigarettes, novels
read for the tenth time, late hours of
writing until my hand aches and
my eyes lose focus.

I lose time, stalking my muse in the shadows of my house
fighting the drone of the bedroom tv,
my husband’s snoring and
the heavy breathing of children lost in their own dreams.

With the streak of grey slicing the darkness
of morning, I fade away like Nosferatu,
a pale shadow of my nightly activity.

Strong black coffee awaits me
Another day of laundry and dishes and meals to make;
perhaps today I will not die a hundred small deaths
but find five minutes, somehow
to write my salvation.

Author: JaeRan

Assistant professor at UW Tacoma, writer, and researcher.

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