Love poem as women’s work
There are so many tiny hitches, being a woman. I wake up and think, god, I have to wash my hair. And you know how that goes—I block the plughole again. Again, I check my breasts for lumps with conditioner running down my back. Amazing how I am destined always to find what I’m looking for. My horoscope app tells me I can be a world unto myself and I find that I already am.
Stopping in for two-for-one Tuesdays at the video store after doing the grocery shopping. Checking out something black-and-white and something for the kids, because we couldn’t afford the new release rack. What did we do before we binge-watched television? Everything was analogue then, the evenings ticking neatly to their closure. Just getting the children to bed seemed to take all night.
A blackbird flies into the window and lies twitching on the ground outside for several minutes as we watch from behind the glass. Next day it happens again, I sigh and take up the shovel. I try to forget that we live in a country of fitfully dozing volcanoes. Any of them could wake, any minute, and destroy us all. My nails are always catching on something as I stride out into the fault.
Sometimes I find myself looking at my children, nearly taller than me now, and thinking, I will be survived by them. Sometimes I find myself looking at the man I made them with and thinking, will we survive the raising of them.
Hannah Mettner is a Wellington-based poet from Tūranganui-a-Kiwa. Her first collection, Fully Clothed and so Forgetful (VUP 2017), was longlisted for the 2018 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards, and won the Jessie Mackay Award for best first book of poetry. With Sugar Magnolia Wilson and Morgan Bach, she is one of the founding editors of Sweet Mammalian. A new collection is forthcoming from THWUP in 2023.
Thank you, Paula. Thank you, Hannah. This poem is stunning. For me, it really landed. (And I’m not usually one to care about catching my nails.) – Greg O’Connell
Thanks for commenting. It matters. So love the poem too.