A mother now, I can with steady hands
extract a shard of wood or glass and smile
to ease her nerves. I do not flinch; no bands
of fear constrict my chest. It’s been a while
since smaller hurts – the scrapes of life, the bumps –
disturbed my work. With children came a new
defining of what’s worth a panicked thump
of heart. Or maybe it’s just age – who knew
I’d grow so calm? And yet, I am not cold.
I bleed with every news report, each child
at risk – the tears rise quick and uncontrolled;
even fiction breaks my heart. We must remold
this world. My voice and manner may be mild,
but my spine will be as iron when I’m old.
(for Ursula K. Le Guin, among others)