Poems & Essays

19 Sep


General/Column No Response

From forms
and applications
candidates for college
are assessed by
admission teams
at skimming over
swim team captains
starting quarterbacks
and first chair flutists
noting notable SATs
and satellite high GPAs.

How will my children
fare in the fray?
Will someone notice that
they’ve been members of the
American Daffodil Society
for a decade- that they’ve
won awards for their cultivars?

Will colleges care
that they can tune a room
with their presence,
their soft cadences soothing
an edgy conversation
as their wit
kick starts a crowd right
into a Conga line.

Will their grasp of
currents, channels and tides
flag attention?
Will their ability to moor
a whaler and zip a zodiac
to shore before sunset
shine through an admission essay?
How do the smells of damp sails,
engine exhaust, freshly caught
bluefish and
Banana Boat sunscreen
blast through paper?

Does knowing how things work
merit worth?
Like haltering horses
rigging sails
repairing brake lines
playing a cello concerto
or recognizing the Eastern towhees
“cup of tea” call.

What about time lapsing
the sunrise over
Sconset Bluff with a solicitude
that billboards their GRATITUDE.

Yet I feel it might be missed-
this Island life of unusual gifts
might not pass muster
in admission circles.
I consider it; consider worrying about it.
I might as well worry
that they’ll somehow know
I haven’t taught my children to sew
or that they don’t eat enough
vegetables and they sometimes
forget to wear their retainers
or even brush their teeth altogether,
or that they tease our dog
and that I sometimes forget
to fill the advent calendar,
in fact, almost always. Surely that
might indicate a faulty gene pool
or laziness– which in their minds might lead
to imagining we live in squalor–
there is beer in our refrigerator crisper.
I kid you not, Corona in the crisper.

I worry they may know this
or know that I never vacuum my car,
so it’s unlikely my kids
will tidy their dorm rooms,
and their socks and sheets will only be
washed at semesters end.

Oh my gosh,
I am worried about every aspect of
this all consuming application
like my worthiness as a mother is
dependent on this
universal university scale.

A scale
I’m ready to bale,
yet by my own admission
I’m still deeply rooted in this
academic tradition. This
earthly measure that I
hope my children will hold
more lightly
while swaying
lily like
in fields of
cantering splendor
turning spokes
solid strokes
in their
salt, sky and wind flavored


Monica Flegg lives on Nantucket Island with her husband and two children. Her work has been published in the Aurorean, Awake, A Nantucket Writer’s Workshop in Print, The Pine Island Journal of New England Poetry and PostScripts.


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Mothers and Daughters September 19, 2016 Keeping Score September 19, 2016