She tried to have it all,
but when she saw the long hours
her husband worked &
the times he was away
from her & the kids,
she realized that no one could have it all,
all the time,
for even as there was a place for everything
& everything in its place,
there was a time for this,
& a time for that.
There was no time for everything.
When she’d thought she wanted the job,
she didn’t get it;
when she didn’t want the job anymore
(having seen what it was all about),
she got it.
Even though she was glad to get it,
having learned so much from it,
she was going to be gladder to get out of it
& take what she had learned from it
to use elsewhere.
She saw, in these 5 teenagers
who crashed the park,
a little of what she had once been—
hanging out with friends every weekend,
rather than on the rare times
when she was able to pull herself away
from her responsibilities,
of walking the streets at dusk without worrying
about anyone’s safety but her own.
When one of the girls smiled her way,
she wondered if she had ever looked
at a young mother like that—
like she couldn’t ever imagine being one someday.
She took inspiration from their expiration,
internalizing their words &
externalizing the actions those words provoked.
When she wrote for the newspaper,
she periodically became a better writer,
increasing her creative circulation.
Though she wasn’t an MD or PhD,
her ID was somewhere between MLA & APA.
He was a famous plagiarist,
stealing the words of his betters,
until he wrote the story of his ill-gotten fame,
& his victims became his lessers.
She was the society pages,
he, the sports,
& the closest thing they had in common
was that he knew how to throw a ball,
even as she knew how to have one.
She was a living doll,
he, a living legend.
He was lauded for the uniform he’d worn,
even as she was worshipped
for the clothes she didn’t.
She was postcards & thank you notes,
he, e-mails & texts,
but they were high class,
for they had enough of it to know
that breaking up should only be done in person.
(Unless that other person was a psycho.)
He brought her fresh milk every morning,
& she gave him fresh eggs,
which put a bun in her oven.
When the big cheese came home
& saw a skim,
curly-headed ginger snap
he waited for Mr. Grade A
(who’d lived up to his name
among the baker’s dozen
whose husbands were away)
& turned him into a hunk of Swiss.
When the Big Cheese was away,
the mice loved to chatter.
When the Big Cheese came back,
she found that their story
about being spread too thin
from the daily rind
was full of holes.
She was always told that too many chefs spoiled the soup,
but Amelia Debilia didn’t listen to her mama.
She found 3 TV chefs—
the annoying English Basil with the Gumby pompadour,
the Asian Ginger,
& a sprig of a woman named Rosemary—
all who tried to make the world believe
that the only way to eat meat was mid-rare.
She chopped them up fine &
sprinkled them into her cast-iron pot,
creating what she deemed fusion cuisine.
When her unknowing mama tasted what she had done,
she’d shaken her head & said,
“You have to remember to take their clothes off first.”
She was Miss before she married
by her own free will & choice,
her husband’s name.
When people called her Ms.,
she didn’t bother correcting them,
for her husband had been a Mr.
& was a Mr. still.
But when someone addressed her
as Mrs. Jameson Adamson,
she did not answer to it,
for her identity was not
in who her husband was—
it was in who she was.
She was stripped of her pride,
but not of her dignity,
which she wore like a mink coat.
The graduate learned in her thirty-seventh year
that life was not about balance but priorities,
for the former was an unattainable ideal;
she learned that there was a season for everything,
for everything was beautiful in its time.
There was a time to learn
& a time to apply what one had learned.
There was a time to read
& a time to write about what one had read–
just as there was always a time to write,
a time to edit,
a time to share,
& a time to read what others shared.
There was a time to speak what she knew
& a time to listen to what she did not.
There was a time to go
& a time to stay,
a time to be something,
but more importantly,
a time to be someone.
There was a time to rise up
& a time to be content,
& it was in that latter time she would stay
until she mastered the tasks entrusted her
so that she could move on
Her poetic license had no expiration date,
for she went around putting line breaks
where she thought they should be,
inserting the Oxford comma wherever she went,
omitting needless words,
for just as brevity was literary minimalism,
clarity was literary purity.
When she brainstormed,
her fingers were like lightning
across the keyboard,
her words like thunder
as she hammered away at a clump of words
to create a viable human-interest story.
It was reading, writing, & arithmetic
in grammar school,
academics, arts, & athletics
Sara Lee Storey excelled in the arts,
writing about the academics,
& editing the words of those
who wrote about athletics.
Sham & Wow were an odd couple,
Sham, the messy one,
Wow, the neat one,
they were the perfect oddity
that was a commodity,
for without the Wow,
Sham was a fraud,
& without the Sham,
Wow was just a common,
He was Generation X,
she, Generation Y.
Though algebra wasn’t her thing,
she knew enough to know that
this x+y was the solution,
not the problem.
Lil’s passion was dumbbells & barbells,
Lily’s, poetics & texts of the literary kind,
but they were the best of friends—
until they shared a love for a thing called Chad,
who was as well-muscled as he was eggheaded.
When 2 sets of scratches ended up on his back,
that’s when the cat nipping turned into a
no-nails-barred cat fight.