Broken In

When I was crazy,
I did crazy things;
I’m not going to say
I wasn’t and didn’t.

I was offended by
all those small fissures,
synapses, gaps between
tectonic plates, moving.

How dare they move?
With enough baling wire,
I could fix every place
that was cracked,

hold it all together,
keep it still so that
my children could
never fall off

the face of the earth.
What’s crazy is that
I’ve given it up now,
the whole notion of

fixing; my children
hold on however
they can. Every day,
they watch me open

the same broken gift,
the only one I ever
get, the only one
any of us need.



For Open Link Night at dVerse Poets.

Broken In, for Open Link Night


14 thoughts on “Broken In, for Open Link Night

  1. OH, this is brilliant Marilyn. SO brilliant! I love the punning on “broken” and “broken in,” and “crazy”/”cracked”/ “fixing.” The line breaks are especially clever. And the psychological progression–perfect and true. Thanks for making my day with this poem!

    • Thank you! Today, a rainstorm drove my son and me into a playroom we used to frequent quite often, for a parents’ group I used to head. It had been well over a year since we’d been there, and it called to mind all these new parent feelings I’ve let go (now that I’m an old parent).

      I recalled how I once came very close to throwing out an entire Thomas train set that was in that room, because ONE engine had been recalled. Crazy, crazy … but it was so hard, at that time, to imagine raising these children without trying to control and fix everything so they would stay safe.

  2. “Every day,
    they watch me open

    the same broken gift,
    the only one I ever
    get, the only one
    any of us need.”

    You have an entertaining way of writing – don’t underestimate that, most poets bore the hell out of me. This was exquisite.

  3. smiles…good on you for letting them watch you open it…we can not fix things or it will drive us crazy, there is always something else…and that freedom found in letting it go…i feel you there….

    • When we took my daughter for her first doc appointment and she was in the infant carrier, and I saw that she was right at the level of all the car exhausts, it hit me that she was out in the world now, and there was only so much I could do. It’s been a 7-year process of letting go. Probably good for me. 🙂

  4. I’ve been half way to crazy and back trying to find duct tape strong enough to hold it all together…next trip…I’ve already decided I’m staying at crazy and the rest can do what they must! Loved this!

    • Thanks! I’m still learning this every day. It’s best when I’m fully in it, and hardest in the moments when I pull back and get a bird’s eye view of what I’m trying to manage. But it’s good to get that perspective now and then, too.

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