off-hours – Poetry Thursday


in her off-hours
her patience is inconsistent
quick to be riled, the inquiries
and indifference of children
are hard to tolerate

not known for her maternal instincts
on her best days
she doesn’t lament her choice
to not have one of her own
but instead finds a quiet joy
in the hug or sparkling eyes
of a girl, growing quickly into
a “tween”, with whom she shares
half her week

she anticipates the moments
when this girl’s passions emerge
when she becomes inspired
when she truly finds something
that shapes her world


in her off-hours
her own passions wane
listless and lazy, not even
words can move her
and the voices of doubt
judgment and anxiety
team up to torment her

she waits
offers little explanation
for her moods
much to the displeasure
of those around her
who sense a shift but can’t
pinpoint it, can’t read her mind
to know that things are just
for the moment, for the hour,
for the day

she vows to herself
to write through it
to take whatever it is
and give it a name
wax philosophical about it
get outside of herself
to see it with a new eye


in her off-hours
she should consider the girl
her good-natured way
and willingness to adventure

she should kiss her lover
tell him she needs a
small bit of solitude
to work it out

she should write
about anything
that comes to mind


from the prompt from Poetry Thursday: using the last line of a poem as a jumping-off point for a new poem…

My first line, “in her off-hours,” is the last line of Maya Stein’s poem, “the coatcheck girl at OgilvyOne” that can be found here:  (scroll down to the date of Tuesday, March 15, 2005).

I also used this like an exquisite corpse and didn’t read the poem before writing my own. I just finished reading the poem and there’s a small bit of synergy if only in the fact that both narrators are writers.


3 Comments Add yours

  1. Tumblewords says:

    nicely done – these feelings probably attack us all at one point or another and you’ve written a great narrative of that fact.

  2. RedRed says:


  3. Maya says:

    I’m so honored you chose my poem as a jumpstart, and I very much enjoyed your “off-hours” musings, too.

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