The Unlined Book

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This, the new book my children gave me,
its pages empty, except for lines.
Lines I do not want, they proscribe me, hold me in.
They wouldn’t know, when they chose it for its cover –
pink, with flowers, how mothers ought to be,
that each new book I have to buy has empty pages,
unlined. Hard to find. Now, in a world
where everyone should write and stand
in line, straight side to side, not up and down,
not in the circle, nor ragged, no dots nor clumps of words,
no untidiness. I secretly long for order,
yet helplessly, my life spills out beyond the lines,
an effulgence, colour, books, words unread,
poems written on scraps, lost and found,
half-empty cups of words, littering my days.
Until I drown in things, duty, worries, memory –
the unlined pages of my life. I reject the book with lines,
yet long for tidiness. Perhaps after all, they chose wisely,
my children, seeking to help me make sense of my unlined,
unruled world.

Angela Locke