Mary Poppins had more than magic, she had certainty. Maria was all golden doubt. But both characters faithfully provided childcare. I work too regularly to be flighty-Mary or Mrs. Banks-the-suffragette & I never liked older men, so where does that leave me? Able to vote & marry for love, that’s what. Most nights, I want to slump in a chair, looking at feminist porn on my phone, but I make dinner & shuffle laundry. I move the mental furniture around. But the older I get, the less I’m sure of and even Julie Andrews lost most of her voice & then her husband. When I walk in the woods, I fill my bag with other people’s trash. It doesn’t make me any sunnier. But when I fight with my partner, I can instantly access my mother’s despair, like it was a necklace she’d passed down. A blasted heirloom. She was too smart for her own good, their friends muttered, as they watched my father move out. Characters on TV sitcoms proclaim “Happy wife, happy life,” but I told my partner that if he ever tried to apologize with jewellery, I’d leave him.
Ariel Gordon is a Winnipeg writer. Her second collection of poetry, Stowaways (Palimpsest Press, 2014), won the 2015 Lansdowne Prize for Poetry. When not being bookish, Ariel likes tromping through the woods and taking macro photographs of mushrooms.