Jen Ryan Onken: Ode to Ambivalence

Drop it. Slowly. Let care go
like a dirty hankie. Don’t
pick it up. Who needs chivalry?
They don’t see you: you’ve let
your hair go grey. Who cares?
Lose four committees. Lose raises
after earning your degree. Lose
all sense of ownership over 
the toaster waffles. Rule the house
by order of the tumbleweeds. Grow
accustomed to the truth: people will
do everything better. Feel the dull
scrape of mother over your gluten-free
toast. Ambivalence is a crone’s
disease. The gurgle of despair—
the world, not your oyster, but someone
else’s Dover Sole. Forget about it.
You’ve leveled out with the other
assholes aboard this virused
cruise. Go ahead: mix your
metaphors. No one’s listening. Drive
your petrol-car to the lousy
movie theatre. The place is closed.
You don’t care. Don’t care about
your tired clothes or your mother’s
passive aggressive stares. The hairs
splitting three ways through
your melanoma moles. Don’t
care two shits about casseroles.
Don’t care about babies with
high temperatures in hospitals. 
Get over babies altogether.
Let go of starving
polar bears. Never mind 
the ozone layer. The Afghan girls 
who won’t learn to read. The terror-
flight of neighbors. Care about your
bed and getting warm beneath
the covers. Care about Mercury’s
retrograde and other people’s lovers.


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