A new disease for me…Catch22

Winter Road

Photo Credit: Jane Johann

the disease of Catch 22

–one of millions

who has it–

invitation came

accepted to the party

without my confirmation

what do i do?

my car

sits in the garage

–odd in itself that the junk accummulated

over the years has been finally removed,

so the Corolla that was bought in 2005

with 36,000 miles on it and cost me $15,000-

more value than my life —

is finally given a prestigious place

in the household–

although…

it does not run…

engine is puttering strange sounds

the brakes are grinding

like the 50 cents in my pocket

that is going towards repairing it…

some day

MEANWHILE

i wake in the middle of the night

pondering

how can i fix my car

can i find a job

to pay for its repair

but how will i get to the job

when i do not have the fare

MEANWHILE

the bills are mounting

do i get a job for $7.46 an hour

that will cost me the Social Security payment

that I worked for 35 years of teaching to accumulate?

MEANWHILE

the public is angry at me

because i taught their children

for $5000 a year in 1980

held three other part-time jobs while teaching full-time during the day

but then everyone, including myself,

had to pay property taxes,

to pay my salary…

MEANWHILE

the Governor of Wisconsin

says i was one of the million–there is that phrase AGAIN–

that caused the economic collapse of this state

WHO would have thought that MY SALARY would do such a thing?

MEANWHILE

if i work and earn $7.46 an hour

i will have to repay $1 for every $2 i earn

back to Social Security

because thirty-five years of teaching was not enough

not to mention the other six years of working in a nursing home

being a receptionist for awhile

getting taxed on the $11 i made doing a calligraphy job

and other odd jobs

to get myself through school

–did not count–

but my Corolla is safe in the garage

and i cannot capitalize i anymore

i have been lost among the millions…

the disease of Catch22

…i would be thinking of my lesson plans on Friday

so all of the thoughts would cascade over their conscious stream of mind on Mondays

…i would correct English compositions in the evening after my three would snuggle into bed…

then early the next day, i would kiss them goodbye

and cry all the way to work, to leave my darlings behind…

while i went to teach other people’s children…

and give them my best…

while at home my own children slept…

…how wrenching it was to me…

however, once there, the children before me became my own…

now…however…all are gone…

my students and my children…

and I sit here

at the keyboard

in the middle of the night

wondering, what did i do?

why does the public hate me so?

i taught their children

i was the best i could be

but then forced out of teaching

because after thirty-five years i finally hit the pay ceiling

…and now

i can’t sleep at night…

i wake and think

of what use am i?

Catch 22

a term when i was young

i did not understand

but now

i am living it…

one of millions…

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Ayden…the gentle love of a brother for a sister

Ayden Krennplayfully wrestling in the bed

mishaps happen, your eyes see red

brother says, “Nadia, you just kicked me in the neck”

reality sets in and expect a train wreck

however, love prevails,

as the tears well up and set sail

sister buries her face in the pillow with tears

“I am so sorry, brother dear”

but the tears keep rolling down her cheek

when Ayden goes beside her and soothes her deep

“Nadia, it is okay, I love you still

I know it was an accident, don’t cry–I love you always, I always will!”