I Stand In The Doorway

Surrounded by the animated chatter of youth,
a mother piles food on plates, busies herself
with addressing individual needs, smiles warmly.

In another room, a woman lies lifeless, grieving
a life now passed, children gone, an absentee mate;
she is alone, feels the burden of her inadequacy.

I stand in the doorway between the two,
longing to join the reverie in one room,
unable to tear myself away from the other.

Would you like something to eat? I offer,
wanting to draw her her out of isolation,
but she turns away, claims to be dieting.

That’s not the right way to go about it
her eyes are cold, dying, my words a lecture,
how can she ignore the succulent aromas?

Outside, the men gather, raising glasses
and voices, masculine camaraderie, content
to let the women do their thing – oblivious.

We could join the party, I offer, but she is
tired of parties, tired of small talk, tired of
it all. I am inclined to agree, have known futility.

I want to go back into the kitchen, forget
about her, but it’s too late; I’ve touched
her sorrow, cannot let go, am powerless.

Think I’ll go outside, air out my mind,
sit amongst the clueless, talk about
everything and nothing, deny responsibility.

I stand in the doorway between two women
one who finds purpose in service to others,
and one whose life has lost all meaning.

I stand in the doorway between the two,
and notice that the mother is no longer me,
and that woman in the bed has no future,

and suddenly realize that I have choices,
and that motherhood or empty-nester
are self-imposed definitions, irrelevant.

Whether to participate or not in life is my call
and not a reflection of how I feel about my body
or whether or not I am giving or doing enough.

I turn from that doorway and make a decision
to just walk away – the kitchen will always be
a place of vitality and the bedroom a refuge

and me, I will be outside enjoying a drink
and conversing about who knows what
and living, obligation-free, in the moment.

 

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