I know Iím not a little woman,
but I donít need you to apprise me.
Iíll 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 Gardinersí dance.
I remind we have only our old poplins.
Megís will do fine, but mine! A burned patch and a horrid tear.
Gloves? Lemonade stains on both. I will not wear them,
and we mustnít bother dear Marmee for new;
her struggles over the accounts reaching past midnight.
You point to your watch needlessly.
Iíve a fifteen minute lunch break before
I revert to ďteacherĒ, assigning homework
the dogs eat and appealing with passion,
ďYou must read, read, read,Ē 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 Megís 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 ďwhatsitĒ 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 publisherís 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
neíer been sold, yearn it to be printed whole as meant.
Opinions of those I value are the best of an authorís education.
Alas, lonely literacy lesson learned.
The phone rings too often with bad news, long chats,
sales clatter, bill pleaders.
Iím 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.
Itís 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 Fatherís best books,
Amyís sketches and dearest Marmeeís 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. Iím 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.
Donít shake your head,
Lord knows I need a good read
* Rerf. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
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