Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Reading (01/25/07)
TITLE: Identity Diversion
By Leigh MacKelvey
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ADD TO MY FAVORITES
I know I’m not a little woman,
but I don’t need you to apprise me.
I’ll not welcome the jolt to reality
and will consider it a preposterous notion.
You might hand me a tissue instead,
to dab red eyes and dripping nose.
I am Jo March absorbed in The Heir of Redclyffe,
tragic events, wretched characters entertain until
Meg whirls in, lady-like elation, singing of
cherished invitation to the Gardiners’ dance.
I remind we have only our old poplins.
Meg’s will do fine, but mine! A burned patch and a horrid tear.
Gloves? Lemonade stains on both. I will not wear them,
and we mustn’t bother dear Marmee for new;
her struggles over the accounts reaching past midnight.
You point to your watch needlessly.
I’ve a fifteen minute lunch break before
I revert to “teacher”, assigning homework
the dogs eat and appealing with passion,
“You must read, read, read,” to children
of bookless homes, electricity off and crack trade
in and out open doors throughout the night.
At the moment,
I plan to stand with my back side to the wall
all the night, with burn and tear discretely hidden.
We shall don Meg’s good glove on one hand and
crumple my stained in the other; Meg, making mention
she should be mortified if I wear none.
That decided, I will eat four apples, finish a story
and have a romping game of Scrabble with Amy before
we dress for a night of dance and light refreshment.
Time enough to sweat in your chair of horrors,
suction “whatsit” hung off my lip, torture tools eager
to dig canals into my bleeding gums.
Displeased Dentist, be done with my deadly decay!
Oh, but not until the mouth is notably numb.
Numbness is non-negotiable.
I read my publisher’s note.
My first novel must be chopped to bits,
funeral to take place in the wastebasket.
Oh, but what of the praise, the pride, the promising book?
I, Josephine March, feel the soreness and long the book had
ne’er been sold, yearn it to be printed whole as meant.
Opinions of those I value are the best of an author’s education.
Alas, lonely literacy lesson learned.
The phone rings too often with bad news, long chats,
sales clatter, bill pleaders.
I’m home late with wash to do. Piled clothing awaits the iron
I cannot locate. Dishes demise in the sink and groan greasily
while windows whine to be wiped.
It’s raining and I just had my car washed.
Time now to
sit with Beth, tranquil saint, in the room set aside to hold
everything she loves. It is peaceful here with Father’s best books,
Amy’s sketches and dearest Marmee’s easy chair.
My desk is where I sit, writing a story to entertain my Beth
and give her cheer. Her feeble fingers stitch a daisy on
a doily to be given as a wedding gift. In my heart she will live forever,
but in my mind, I know her days with us are short.
I will thank God when Beth is finally well.
I know who I am. I’m not a little woman.
I am a woman of God, passing through this life
with determined forges through the daily frustrations
of the world by means of God-given diversion,
doggedly dwindling the doubt and doom I face with a book.
Don’t shake your head,
Lord knows I need a good read
* Rerf. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
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