I Don’t Want to Be a Mother Today

Joni Mitchell

I don’t want to be a mother today. Is that so bad to say? Will they take my children away if I admit that for today I don’t want to be a mother?

Will they be taken away and given to a better mother who will make sure they eat their greens? Will I be sent back to the mother factory where they will shout ‘ we have a faulty one here ‘ and put me on the conveyor belt for the broken and fix me up anew?

I don’t want to be a mother today. I don’t want to be mothered by another or by myself. I want to drop whatever maternal instincts I have off at the bus stop with an all-day pass to roam somewhere else. I want to be orphaned from all the things that a respectable woman ought to do. I want to pick flowers from peoples gardens and take a piss against a tree in the corner of the garden like truck drivers and little boys are entitled to do. I want to lift my skirt high so that my legs are warmed by the sun and walk around town with no shoes on; and if I bleed I want to bleed all the way through.

I want to think incredibly long thoughts with no grammatical corrections or punctuations. Just thoughts that go on and on and on and crash into each other and overlap like a pile up on the freeway. There will be bits sticking out at a juxtaposition form one another that will all make sense. Maybe they will find my body at the scene amongst the wreckage of my miscarried thoughts.

I want to wrestle with my restlessness till either it or I yield and in the yielding finally come to stop with this pain in my heart.

My children are not with me today nor were they yesterday or the day before. My children will not be with me tomorrow and so I don’t want to be a mother. I want to walk around with my mascara running down like a drunken woman without the drink, so it runs into my bleached white top and makes a tie-dye of my clothes. Tied with tears and longing and dyed with the certainty that I will always be a mother. I will always be a mother, even when they have left my apron strings hanging on the kitchen wall.

From the baby that I pulled from my belly to the embryo that fell out on the bathroom floor and the precious jewels that I did birth for hours and hours and hours amidst my own birth, my own blood and sweat and the roar from the bottom of the universe expanding up through this body of mine. Mine but not mine as I played hostess to species not yet lived. The entire evolution of the planet going on under my skin. All indigo and violent was that journey from there to here.

My body is now shaped by those children. My breasts all undulated from years of my heart soaked feeding and my hips wider then they were before they were cracked open. My belly forever a reminder that I will always, always be just-a- little-bit-pregnant still under my skirt. How glorious to see a women carrying her child, in her belly, in her hips, on her hip, on her tit.

I don’t want to be a mother. I want to be a muse to some sculptor who tells me to hold a pose for hours and hours with only sips of honeyed water to comfort me as he carves me out in clay from sunrise to sunset. I want to be looked at through a scientist’s eye like I am an insect being dissected under the microscope. So much attention would be unbearable for the loved-less parts of me. I would snap under the weight of all that noticing.

I don’t want to be a mother today, I want to sit and sup tea for hours and hours with no one interrupting my cup to mouth exercise. The perfect blend of sugar and cinnamon my only mission statement. Reading whole chapters without a request from a needing other would be my reward for all the days I have put myself on the bookshelf unread whilst attending to growing bodies, skinned limbs and energy fuelled curiosities.

I want to ride shotgun to my orgasm as it hides under the sheets waiting for a man to seek it out. I want to get completely lost and wait in the anticipation of being found or maybe even found out. I will take my own counsel in my chamber all day long with incense, mixed berries and passion fruit by the plateful.

“Don’t take all this too seriously Madam Chai, keep your playfulness about you.”

Today I don’t want to be a mother. I don’t want to squeeze into too old premises and too tight thoughts like too tight jeans of what a mother would do, should do if she was good. I want to be this woman with Wild Orange on my skin. Dying amongst poetry and words like camphor laurel and glory and unabashed, like sweet first dizzy kisses with Joni Mitchell as my only companion, soothing me blue with foggy lullabies and tattooed songs.

I don’t want to be a mother today. Is that so bad to say? Will they take my children away if I admit that for today I don’t want to be a mother?

~ Lotus


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