The unkindness of strangers by Anna Martin

Hello my name is Anna and I'm 38 years old.

'Tick tock' I don't have children... 'lucky' so I'm told.


Holidays and parties and dinners made for one

yes life is so much richer with no daughter or a son.


What's that you say 'married yet?' Well no, may never be!

Just as you said what is the point when 2 + 1 = not three?


Yes I may have 'saved myself' or 'waited' far too long,

do you think it might be impolite to ask me what went wrong?


The truth you see is hard to tell, for you it's hard to hear.

You listen to the answers then what you do I fear

- instruct me how to make things better, advice to put things right,

when you became a mother your 'life changed overnight'.


'You are not a real woman, unless you've given birth’

you didn't think that statement through I AM for what it's worth! 


You view me with suspicion and with a narrow mind you see

a selfish, narcissistic maid who just wants to be free,

free to spend my money on what the hell I choose,

designer bags and fragrances, the latest Jimmy Choos.


Career that's it! A child won't fit for what I have in store

assumed of me at 33 with opportunity to explore. 


So I should do the same as you? I want it I should 'try'?

You'd think I'd opt to 'just adopt' alone I would get by.

My surrogate? No thank you but your offer very kind

that isn't what this issue is, your condolences? Never. Mind.


I choose my words to not offend and cut my story short

despite the probing questions you supply me without thought. 


I listen to the chit chat, what your cherubs ate for tea,

temper tantrums, mood swings, how you clean up poo and pee,

your choice of schools, your lack of sleep but what you'll never know

is how I envy you for this. I gave it a good go.


A heart with love enough to share for those that aren't my own

I've played in dirt and kissed the hurt from scrapes to broken bones.

Told tales to send them into dreams of mystical faraway places

and helped young hands build castles of sand and learn to tie shoe laces. 


So why on earth I worry, of what you think of me?

When it came to pass that greener grass was never meant to be. 


I mind and I can't help it and worry though I might,

that you may think my childless life could be an oversight,

and stranger when you ask me tread gently and with care,

do not assume the right to know my life, my cross to bear.


Be thoughtful in your asking and when the time is right

I'll share with you my story and shed a little light.


A womb is not a purpose and if it is unused

do not presume the reason or a woman's right to choose.

Stories they may vary and not every scar will heal.

Stop, think and ask yourself just how good you would feel

if your life path and existence was questioned at each turn,

with each new face in each new place your story keen to learn.


Anna Martin