The Elusive Muse

The studio is breezy, crisp as December sings
Papers drift, temptation blank, to see what muse might bring.
Clients’ work delivered, banking, billing done
So I can have the afternoon to let the muses run.
The evening is promised to the husband who complains
that we don’t see each other often when others pick my brains
or soul or heart or fingers worn down to the bone.
He needs some real attention, he’s been too long alone.

I have all day! The studio calls, but then the cats begin

The memory of fireflies, Ink on paper. © Quinn McDonald

The memory of fireflies, Ink on paper. © Quinn McDonald

they want their food, the litter scooped, and then the doorbell rings.
The postman wants a signature, and when I turn to go
into the hall, I sneeze, and the top button blows.
I sew it up, and while I have the needle and the thread,
I might as well sew up the cuffs on the pants left on the bed.
The postman left a package, Lizzy sent the jacket
to try and get some feedback, so I unwrap the packet.
And type up notes to send her, she works hard at her art
I can’t just leave her hanging, so I finish what I start.

Now, back to work, chasing the muse, she waits, whistling, for me.
On my way there, I take the wash, my arms just can’t stay free.
I sort the clothes, the machine churns, the suds are getting clean
the clothing, but the towels, too, take turns in the machine.
Bathrooms beckon, I fetch the towels and throw rugs while I’m there,
Bring them down and pile them up, and now, it’s my time’s share.

I pull the stool, and flare the sheet of handmade paper crisp
I sigh with pleasure at the feel, but sniff a smoky wisp.
The brownies I’ve been timing for my spouse while he’s out shopping
are burning in the oven, timer’s ring too soft to get me hopping.
Quick, before he comes back home, whip up another batch,
The ones I burned were walnut, these are plain, but will he catch
this slip? Maybe not, but I want time, the clock says almost four
I slip into the studio and ignore the crumbs left on the floor.

You know the rest, you’ve been there too, I never find the muse
The truth: those distractions are those that I, distracted, choose.
Because my art is silent, its voice echoes from mine
And it won’t speak until I stand, and declare “This is my own time.”

—Quinn McDonald is chasing her muse. Again.