Woman Without Children

by Cathleen Calbert

I am that woman.
It’s taken 20 years,
But I have become her.

A question mark.
A beginning. An ending.
A cautionary tale.

Young women, be wary,
Shelter those fertile laps.
Hide the eggs and honey.

I am Icarus, I am Medea,
Sappho, Marilyn Monroe.
My mind splits open,

Spilling pools of anxiety
And fruitful hours
Of childfree poetry.

I am sleeveless.
I can think.
I can regret everything.

how much
I would have loved you.)

No one calls me Mother.
I will die a daughter.
My blood ends with me,

My belly an empty bowl,
Lover rubbing my shoulders,
Dogs at my feet.

I am the one
You can’t understand,
The missing puzzle-piece,

Your albatross,
Your highflying witch
Your sister.

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