I consider the magnetism that tethers nearly every mother
to her son, to her daughter. Inside this enchantment,
what of mine is subsumed–what of theirs is squashed if my needs fly free,
once-caged birds rightly, wildly roaming
their destined, unseen migration lines?
Am I in motion, or only imagine that I am?
Once I felt stretched in all directions but forward–
pulled to him, to her, away from my own self,
space, time, and plans by their eager, demanding hands.
Now I see: we move in chaotic concert, orbiting each other
in wavering, wobbling paths, moving towards and away,
crave and resent minutes spent together, a maddening math.
I see now we were always moving, all of us–even me,
but so was the map, creating a falsehood of stillness–
I only thought my feet were stationary.
Now and again we all move parallel, me just ahead
of my tethering two; one a ball of flames licking at my left hand–
the other an undulating stream lapping my right.
And now I see how I move, what I can be:
I am the wind, igniting her flames, skimming his surface,
filling my ears with my own rushing song,
sometimes heard as a roar, sometimes only a whisper.
We hurtle along, magnetically bonded,
unsure the imagined map was ever there.
Katie Chicquette Adams teaches English at Appleton’s public alternative high school, holding BS and MA degrees in English and history. She is a live storyteller with Storycatchers, Inc. Her work appears or is forthcoming in River + Bay, Mothers Always Write, Heavy Feather Review the radio segment “Soul of the Cities,” and on the Storycatchers blog. She lives in her hometown of Appleton, WI, after more than a decade studying and teaching in Milwaukee.