Without Child
My teenage fantasies gave birth to one of each,
imagination knitting them names and narratives,
until reality, full-time fostering my own mother.
Foot-loosing from her funeral towards every invitation,
spent my fecundity on degree, profession, books…
Entering last chance 40s husband-light, friends unsolicited
examples, celebrities who had late cropped,
but whilst they paused in shops crooning over babygrows
I strode straight past to new season’s ladieswear.
Now despite my November marriage,
no biblical Sarah shocker for me.
In truth I find nurturing a garden strains my back,
bearing shopping stiffens legs.
But even so, given our combined dead-end families,
sometimes I scroll Facebook feeds like a one-armed bandit,
past other people’s beaming full houses.
Yet despite 4 years Maudsley straightening me
from my own parents crooked parenting,
suspect I would either grant offspring every wish,
over seasoned the praise,
or mother’s beauty skipping a generation,
father’s sportiness leap frogging to son or daughter,
would trigger in me, family’s aberrant chromosome, jealousy.
But at parties, difficult to ease my way into stranger’s small talk
as they top trump kids’ grades, gap year, graduation,
get away with smiles and nods until ambushed by Do you have kids?
My bullet No discharges accidentally like a gun that kills conversation
Sometimes though yummy mummy’s bold Aw you couldn’t?
wrong foots me and I hide behind shrugged response that
they misinterpret, taking umbrage on behalf sterile sisters,
assuming I would not curtail my travelling for needy toddler,
or suspend my trophy-hunt career to taxi teenagers.
Then I am unsexed from proper woman, to transvestite, harpy, witch.

Fiona Sinclair

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