Matryoshka Doll

Here’s a poem I wrote last year, about my multilayered identity of recovering good girl, wife, mother, and aspiring artist.

Matryoshka Doll

When they drop by the house
I am in my apron in the kitchen.
In their eyes I see a glimmer of worship
At sighting a domestic angel.
My young son is building superstructures in the living room
And I am baking bread
So I am a stay-at-home mom
(Apparently).

Once, remarking on my unpainted face,
Someone asked for counsel
About wifely submission.

They find me writing at the coffee shop
And praise my husband for giving me time off
From what (apparently) is my real work.

A little girl within
Believes them
Craves their favor.

A woman deeper still
Knows more
Feels lonely feisty misunderstood
Amused
Angry stuck sad useless.

At her heart is a human
Being
Living
Gestating
Faith hope love.

The heart of her heart
Throbs with the secret
And the strength
Of labor
The grip of death
That releases life
And, once more,
She breathes.