-Lisa Kendrick, Norfolk, Virginia

I feel that being a single mother is certainly an issue many women face. IN my experience, I was completely taken in by a narcissist who behaved very badly, left me in a lot of debt, and is not a very good role model as a parent. What I have written at this point are a couple of poems about how tough it is to be the only responsible parent.

Single Mother

It isn’t fair to be the only one who is responsible:
To be the one who arranges dentist and doctors,
The one who trims hair and clips nails,
The one who enforces bedtimes and school days,
Who teaches manners and good behavior,
Who bears the brunt of all the stress
till sleep is destroyed and even poetry is silenced.
The other one can come and go haphazardly,
Can follow any whim and MAYBE show up on weekends,
Can breathe without worry and MAYBE follow through,
Can half-ass it ALL day and still have equal rights
while the responsible one deals with the REAL stuff:
Is the one who must schedule and sacrifice and struggle,
The one who must keep silent in the face of unfairness,
The one whose heart breaks when the kids complain
The one who must swallow pride to cover for the other.

Disposable Love

Mommy, she said she loves me,
so said the newest girlfriend
in a string of girlfriends
her father likes to parade through.

How dare she say that
after meeting my daughter only twice?
How dare she teach my daughter
that love means NOTHING…
that the word love
can be uttered with no truth…
that love can be thrown about…
that it can come and go…
that women attaching such sentiments can be disposable…
that such women
will come and go like the rain…
that love means nothing but liaison.

Mommy, she said she loves me,
how dare she teach my daughter
such a superficial version of the word
when right now my daughter thinks love means SOMETHING…
when right now she cherishes love…
when right now she can’t comprehend love’s dangers.

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