Poems & Essays

16 May

The Woman Who Holds the World Together

General/Column One Response

When glue doesn’t work,
I hold the world together
with Band Aids, hair ribbons, and Duct Tape.

I sand down the rough edges,
smooth, round. Life is good
when we can roll with the ride,
inflate our lungs,
sing a happy song.

But I’m small;
the world is heavy.
It may crush me.
So I’ve been gifted these arms
and these shoulders,
made to bear the extra burden.

I am the troubleshooter,
the do-it-yourselfer.
I am the Woman Who Holds the World Together.

I run marathons,
every day,
always sprinting,
never catching up,
never reaching
the finish line.

Sometimes I slow down,
open the refrigerator and pour
myself an ice cold glass of time.
I want my cup overflowing.

But I take small sips;
the rest I give away.

I am the mother who watches her children
create worlds of their own.

All too often,
as pieces of the earth
slip through my fingers,
it seems as if the world
is coming to an end.
My job is to hold their hands,
and the world,
and the universe!

These two hands become three,
sometimes more.
With my free hands,
I scoop up the fallen pieces,
put them back into place.
All is right with the world again.

I am the daughter who dreams
so that she can be
with her mother again.

And when I awake,
I become a mother
for my grandmother
whose world I’ve come to hold,
packing and unpacking her century,
preparing for her end and beginning.

I am the wife who willingly shares
her healthy spine
so her husband’s can heal.

Holding the world together
requires more than all of me.

Miracles happen
with each offering I make,
grinding my surface,
cutting my limbs,
sharpening my curves,
defining my terrain.

I am the woman who gathers
the pages of her seasons,
binds and saves
them for the day
when her children will need them.

I am the prize fighter,
the iron athlete
the queenly beloved.

I am the Woman Who Holds the World Together.


Joelle Hannah lives in Moorpark, CA with her husband and 5 children. She teaches at Moorpark College. She has been writing and performing poetry since 2005. Her poems have appeared in the The Scribbler, The Night Goes On All Night, Bridges of Fate Anthology, Chaparral, Two Words For, Where I Live, Mothers Always Write, and A Quiet Courage.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

1 Comment

Would you like to join the discussion? Feel free to contribute!

  1. Julia Blue Le Mar

    May 18, 2016 at 4:36 am

    very beautiful, Joelle


Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

From Generation to Ge… May 16, 2016 Outside their room, t… May 16, 2016