Clapping slaps my irritated ears.
With stiff fingertips, sharp laughter jabs
my solar plexus, spleen. The blah, blah, blah
of banal beastly blabber,
chatter to the left and right,
weekend plans, details missed.
Bitching is a screaming siren, the hall bell,
a dog in a cage.
This meeting is a violation of my time.
I want to go home, paint the walls blush, red, blue
reflect my moods, a room for each,
tire my arms so I can sleep
excusing their emptiness.
Go home, scrub the floor, throw away my
rotten fruit, bag the stinky garbage, put it
out, wipe the shelves,
wipe them clean.
Go home, pull weeds on my knees
dirt caking under my nails so deep
only a sharp knife will get it out.
Go home, glare at my bossy desk,
shuffle papers: to do, to file, to read.
Go home, fall into my man, fall apart.
Go home, be alone.
But when I flex my calves to stand, lean
forward to shift my weight, turn my face
toward to door,
sinks under the chair, hardens
her ventricles, covers
her open vessels, beats
her center softly
so she won't be heard,
curls herself in close
so she can't be seen
and she disappears
and she is home.
Kim Hildebrand Cardoso is a midwife and artist-writer whose poems have appeared in Literary Mama, Swink, and Potomac Review. Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, she now calls Oakland, California home. She lives with her Brazilian husband, their two small kids, and a big dog in a house near a lake where she cooks soup, builds community, and tries to keep up her blog call me zari. She is a 2008 mamazine MAMA FOCUS photo contest winner.