I want to be
like the heroine in a fantasy
—courageous, invincible, burning with
vibrancy. Acting without
hesitation, saving imperiled worlds by
decisiveness. Plunging from tower to
river, laughing at
menace, narrowly escaping
enemies by alchemy. Immortalized by
troubadours, exalted by
I sit soberly pensive, calm and
content in my ordinary
competence. My accomplishments
dwell in books no one will
read, validated by no
one but me. Like blemished
porcelain, a gooseberry instead of a
pomegranate, a mundane member of the
secretarial pool, treasured by
The Me I’m Afraid to Be
She wants to travel the far world;
The world is a dangerous place;
I’ll go around the block instead.
She wants to dye her hair pink;
I keep mine mousy brown.
Better to be ordinary
Than to act too young.
She wants the ice cream sundae.
I look at my pudgy waist
And order the salad instead.
She wants to spatter paint on a canvas.
I need to take a course,
Learn about line and composition.
She wants to sing karaoke.
I’ll sing in the shower instead
Where no one can hear me.
She wants to hang glide.
I’ll cling to solid ground, thank you.
Lack of Relevance
Once I was a daughter
Protected, guided, provided for
I responded by challenging
But usually obeying
Now I’m nobody’s daughter
Staring at a hole
Once I was a mother
Loving, nurturing, advocating
But children grow up
And make their own choices
I learn to bite my tongue
Unheeded and unneeded
And cling to the edge of the hole
Once I was a teacher
Instructing, encouraging, prodding
But I’m too old
For budget cuts and rising bars
So I resigned
And I sit in my hole
Poems © by ARHuelsenbeck