By Katia Ariel
The First Day
This first day of the month is for solitude
This small paved courtyard, a museum of natural histories —
Archive of hungers fed and ignored,
Sorrows that bloomed beyond our wildest imaginings
Dreams whispered under the washing line
Seeds tucked into soil with a knowing thumb
The children’s trust in all of it
I examine my solitude in its display case
My mother, the art teacher, speaks over my shoulder:
‘Note the transit of light across shadow’
The sandpit belonged to my sister when she was a child
Now she is a mother
Somehow I am always more tired than her
Half the time I have no idea what to tell her
Even though I am exactly a decade older
Even though I have planted and grown these tomatoes
that are taking over the world
Half the time I have no idea what to tell her when she says,
‘How could you possibly know that?’
Here, there and everywhere
We wake to interior bells
Living on borrowed breaths.
But here, there and everywhere, as always,
The moon continues to tilt her head benignly.
She must know how weary we all are
How many of our jewels are squandered to panic.
Or maybe she has no idea,
No persona that’s not our invention.
Maybe she is neither mother nor daughter
Neither jewel nor thief.
Still. What to make of the fact that while we tie laces and sign forms and fret
Like the fast-moving fingers of a violinist, the moon is relentlessly tugging at the lacy hemline
of the shore?
How to respond when she does the same thing over and over and over,
With the maddening repetition of a child,
‘Look, mum, come and look at this!’
And we ignore her like we ignore each other; at our peril and only until we can’t
When we ourselves are mothering and daughtering on the fly
What should we be looking at?
What should we be noticing this morning, while she is noticing us?
My Siblings, My Children
If life is a house of time,
Thank god for these building blocks
These weather-resistant frames, wide-eyed windows, porous walls,
surround-sound noise machines
These human tables
Upon which I have rested my crying head, of a dawn
Or an afternoon
These sets of hands, bannisters down the rickety stairwell of adulthood
The fist-bump of seeing each other’s eyes
After a joy or a calamity
Or just across the lawn, reclining
Knowing we are each other’s weight, but also each other’s trampoline
Knowing, that we are only going round once
In this exact configuration
Life in lockdown. Womankind approached its community to write about life in lockdown around the globe, notably a three-day diary of everyday life under the threat of COVID-19. Womankind is publishing these stories freely to show how the pandemic is affecting women from all over the globe - from New York, to Barcelona to Glastonbury.
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