Heading back to the car she passes the other parent,
morning drop-off acquaintance, who smiles and asks,
“Hello, how are you today?” And in her head, she answers
Same semi sleepless nights bouncing in and out of wakefulness and dreams
Same morning and evening wriggling matches with small bodies emitting large emotions
Same dishes same laundry same lunch box battles over candy
Same deep chocolate body wider than she’d like surrounded by a crowd semi suburban and thin and white
Same short cut natural hair that some want to treat like Public Domain
Same nearsighted eyes sliding toward bifocals
Same stack of empty pages on a desk mocking her with blinding blankness
Same world burning down same brown folks being buried
Same sitting on the sidelines feeling helpless to affect it because
Same brain chemicals ebbing and flowing on their own schedule
Same ashamed stay-at-home, part-time working self feeling subsidized by a partner’s stress and labor
Same would be rower in the same damp rowboat stuck on the same sandbar buried in the same fog bank
Same staring out the same window at the same faceless backyards.
She sorts through these answers that fill her head,
and her mouth smiles in return and says, “I’m good. And you?”


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