B*ll*cks to the bakesale!

I am not sure whether it was
The burnt banana bread
Or the under-spiced
Over-baked biscuits
That did it
But I am thoroughly
Sick-as-a-dog
Fed up to the back teeth
And beyond
With the schoolyard
B*llsh*t bakesale
Not just the politics
The cut and thrust
Of who gets to bake
And who gets to buy
At the thrice termly
Repeating misery
That is the fundraiser
Conspicuous, competitive,
Consumption
For a school committee
With more money
Than common sense
Soliciting donations:
Baked goods; sweets; 
Good-as-new toys;
Dictating requirements:
Own clothes; costumes;
Odd shoes; socks;
Random coloured shirts;
Hair ribbons; headgear;
We all pay for a day
Out of uniform
Or suffer culinary torture
Face it, ladies
I can actually cook
But my kitchen will never be
One hundred percent
Gluten or nut-free
I don’t want to poison
Anyone (by accident)
And I resent the waste
Of good ingredients
This charade entails
Let’s just forget it
The whole in-crowd
Phenomenon
What are we, twelve?
Phooey to the PTA!
Us working mums have
Bigger problems
Than dusting off a dirndl 
To play at housewife
On a weekday afternoon
Though what you choose
To do with your own time
Is none of my business.
And that was my 
Considered, rational,
Personal perspective
Before we ate the
Glitter-encrusted
Muffin of doom
That somehow gave
The entire family
Galloping gut rot
(Even the cat)
Don’t ask me how
I no longer care
We have run out of
Buckets, bog roll,
And fresh underwear
Seriously,
Screw the whole thing!
I am switching to
Online donations
At least they don’t
Require that I provide
Correct change
Nor that I invest my
Hard earned paycheck
In industrial quantities
Of bathroom bleach
And antacids
Only to be sneered at
By the clique of
Suzie home-maker
And sycophants
Holding court
At the school gate
Judging me and mine
For our contribution
To the latest cause

At bedtime

I lack the words to describe this feeling

My sense of oneness with you

Who grew out of my flesh

And into this world

Making room for yourself

In our lives as if

You had always been there

On the edge of existence

Just waiting to step out

Into the light

We hold you

Folded tightly in arms

That we now see

Decaying

Withering as those

Of our parents did

Limbs curving

From old embraces

Into a touchless existence

You grow as we shrink

Such is the way

Of the world

But for a moment

I may yet hold you

Suspended in the bliss

Of a mother’s love

You fall to sleep

In my arms

I can pretend

We are still one

Cocooned

In this microcosm

Debussy hour

As the first strains of the piano
Arpeggios arch through the gloom
Of the blinds-pulled living room
You curl in my arms
Nuzzle for a breast
As if you were not outgrowing
Your babyhood
So keen to stretch skyward
When will I be a Big Girl, Mummy?
Soon enough, my lovely,
Soon enough.
This hour is my solace.
Your warm breath on my shoulder
Legs folded around my thigh
We embrace upon the sofa.
I ignore the floor
What little of it remains visible
In the chaos of your wake
Toys strewn like flotsam.
I am drowning by inches
Yet this is not playtime
I will not despair
For my once neat home
It matters little
And shall be overcome
Once we are both back on our feet.
Eyelids flutter as we reach for
The second movement
Ears adjusting to familiar rhythms
I reach for the mouse
Scroll to the next page
Of our story
Welcoming this forced pause
Suspended in our time
Inhabiting this shared space
To the end of the lullaby