May I be the oldest living person
Who once believed the lie
that smoking is rebellion.
So that no more children of abuse
enter this prison
And then turn around years later to bars.
May they be warned by my weakness
Saddened by my addiction
And see me as very uncool.
May I die old and grey
shriveled and tan
smelling only of fancy face oils.
May the gaslight
on the foggy front lawn in me
Which had been slowly dimmed
For too many decades
Be turned back up
By my own new
And stronger hand.
May it release it’s fuel
So quickly and completely
That it explodes;
Is replaced by a solar panel.
And then, finally
May I lose my lighter
On a lazy Sunday at the river
powered by a new sun
That can’t burn me.
May it drop from a loose pocket
Into the swirling current I am perched above
On a safe and sturdy branch,
And May I never buy another.
“We are the daughters of the witches you couldn’t burn” says a bumper sticker on the dirty Prius in front of me.
She’s got two car seats behind her like I do, and she looks a lot like me.
Definitely down with the gays.
Probably still smokes secret cigarettes behind the house sometimes.
Has a few large unfinished tattoos from when she went from being punk as fuck
To Mom as fuck.
But we are not the same.
We are not all the daughters of the witches they could not burn.
Some of us come from a long line of torches.
Some of us come from women who tried their best to cleanse the witch from us With flaming tongues.
Who attempted to shrink us;
To Make us feel pain like them.
Who did not protect us from the men they protect.
My mother forced me to mother alone, because she can’t be alone.
There’s no bumper sticker for that.
Theres no secret handshake for those of us who lost our mothers
Before losing our mothers.
I am an orphan, by choice.
By terrible, isolating,
And I have noticed lately,
That most of the choices given to women
Are this kind of choice.
We’ve been told we can have it all,
When we are really just expected to do it all.
Be it all.
Receive it all with a grateful smile.
Women have come so far, they say.
As if we have not been dragged here by our Balyage highlights.