In New Mexico I started with reddish mud in the backyard and water, making pies in the rain or driving Matchbox cars through the soft dirt tunnels in the front-yard planter. Moving the elastic earth. It felt like work. It was work.
Then we moved to Missouri and other imaginations came into it: menus handwritten on shiny black cardboard for cafe tables. Our customers were only conceivably truck drivers.
We were en plein air writers on the hill between our houses. Math and grammar workbooks were re-purposed for playing student and teacher. The plays and newscasts we choreographed over a full day. We were talent and the crew with scripts and backdrops.
Even when we played at motherhood, we left our babies without babysitters and left for work.
When we were pirates we had to build our tree houses. When we were scholars we need to assemble piles of books. When we swam we were swimming to dry land.
Practicing work. I still do it. I think I’m doing it right now.
Prompt: "write a poem of origin. Where are you from? Not just geographically, but emotionally, physically, spiritually?" The example they used is Origin Stories by Safia Elhillo and I have literally written my own about New Mexico with a very similar opening sentence! Mine was “I came out of the clay” vs. “I was made out of clay.” But mine must have a self-imposed office spin so this is the origin of me as a worker-bee.