• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 04
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“Mom” is never great when it’s more than a syllable long
and even less so when there are infinite ways in which
two offspring can get into trouble in a bathroom.
As I teeter on the brink of exhaustion,
I find them splashing joyfully in the tub,
but the toilet drain is now blocked.

It’s impossible to feel anger at these innocents,
as the older child tells me with impeccable logic,
that a favorite stuffed toy was flushed down the toilet,
in a fit of pique, but remorse and kindness
caused a fresh diaper to follow so that
said toy would have adequate pee-poop protection.

I shut off the water, get my children dried off,
and dressed and tuck them in for the night
before I don my most capable avatar, Plumber Mom.
Rain slicker, diving goggles, snorkel, gloves, plunger
and waders complete my superhero uniform
as I bravely wade into this latest challenge.

It’s late in the evening, there’s no plumber
who won’t charge time and a half, those tools
don’t get me very far, I still have so many chores
before I can think of sleep, so I use a drain auger
to do the job, and devise an excuse for the toy’s demise
as toilet bowl water drips from my hair.

As I leave the bathroom, mission accomplished,
envisioning a future of endless such nights,
I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror.



Is it my imagination or do I see, sticking out
of the snorkel tube, my skeletal fingers holding
a tangle of hair I yanked out of my scalp in stress-frustration?

I need a break, please. I need to escape in my mind.
I am drained from constant motherhood in a society
that offers no support, only judgment and criticism.
I will myself to a tropical lagoon, with emerald water,
snorkeling with gem-toned fish amid coral reefs,
as the sun-warmed water buoys my tired, neglected body.