Poem for Poetry Thursday

Didn't write a new poem, but I plucked one from my manuscript. I think my brain is on summer vacation because I haven't written any new poems lately. However, I have been keeping busy on the poetry front.

I managed to send out my work to two publishers, for a total of three publishers who are fingering my manuscript as I type--at least that's the hope. Also, I entered one poetry contest and started reading Daisy Fried's My Brother Is Getting Arrested Again. No new poetry written but still a good week.

Additionally, I picked up a really good poetry meme that I encourage you to try. I was surprised by how my answers reflect how I feel about poetry.

Back to this week's poem. It is a take on a John Updike poem called "Back from Vacation."

Happy Poetry Thursday everyone!

Back from Maternity Leave

“Did anyone miss me?” the new mommy asks,
amazed to find the working world just as she left it.

Her absence not even a crack in the
glass ceiling sky. Clients failed to notice her return,

promotions were handed out like candy, and
time flowed through their hands like paper clips.

The desk jockeys think she’s moonlighting when
She describes the first toothless smile, the first giggle,

the first time her daughter holds her finger
while feeding from her swollen breasts.

Just a pile of new project files marks her return.
Her office door closes in lockdown.

The cosmic tumblers click shut.
The yoke still fits, warm as if never unbridled.


Beautifully written poem and a thought provoking comment on women's position in the workforce.
paris parfait said…
"The yoke still fits, warm as if never unbridled." Very true words and an excellent commentary on women's dual roles as a mother and in the workplace.
sputnik said…
I love "the desk jockeys think she's moonlighting." So true. You have to have lived that to understand the experience of those oddly clashing points of view!
gautami said…
So true all over the world. Her whole changes but it hardly ever registers with others.
Dave said…
More effective than Updike's poem, for me, I guess because I see childbirth as far more significant and othering (if that's a word) than going on vacation. But it would be even stronger if your last line didn't borrow so much from his next-to-last, IMO.
that last line packs a punch!
January said…
Thanks Michelle!
January said…
Thanks Dave, and everyone, for the feedback. I wrestled with that line but I do feel it's a strong way to end.

My gut feeling is that most readers won't see both poems together.
Catherine said…
My maternity leave lasted over twenty years, so this one doesn't really fit my experience, but it has some strong lines. "Promotions were handed out like candy" was one that struck me. Congratulations on all the submitting that you are doing - it's the hardest part of writing, sometimes.
You have described my experience of returning from Maternity Leave very well - "time flowed through their hands like paper clips" created a great image for me.
chiefbiscuit said…
Another January-poem with its stamp of reality; the birth and growth of an idea and considered placing of words to full effect.
It's been good to catch up again. How come you are still so productive even when you say you're not writing?!
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