The American Spring of Mrs. Jones


Her life was a brimful,
her family,
a handful.
So many things divided her attention,
commanding it,
and she fought the distractions
as if they were dragons,
slaying them with more commitments—
all because she felt that her time
to make the most of herself was
running out.

She’d seen it all coming—
this season of late nights in the library,
of numerous hours in the tutoring lab,
fighting the mind and memory
that seemed to work against her sometimes.
But she had prepared for it
like a Doomsday prepper,
when something
no one
could have seen coming,
slammed her from behind,
scattering her
like the loose-leaf sheets of her textbooks
that fell out of her broken binders.

She’d been so consumed with being productive—
and trying to figure out a curious sort of arithmetic,
trying to tie the ends together that didn’t quite meet,
that she didn’t,
allow herself to think about anything else.

When that crash happened,
it was as if the universe had made a terrible mistake—
as if what was happening now
wasn’t supposed to happen
until twenty years from now.

And though her life,
as she lived it,
changed little,
her world seemed so sad and strange,
yet she still heard her child’s laugh
in the next room.

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