The Myth of Sisyphus or the Hot Mess Express

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a little found poem based on the words of the wonderful women at The Heads Network Leadership Seminar at my own Alma Mater, Agnes Irwin.


Right before I left, the rain was coming, so I made preparations.


I inspected my new house, the one we thought was once big enough

Like my job that was once,

like Baby Bear’s porridge, just right,

But I may have outgrown both house and job.


What could this new chapter be?

I’ve come here to Rosemont to look to the future

My future.

Me: caretaker and mother and school leader and teacher and jack of all trades and the one who gets the job done—

Me, who keeps pushing boulders up endless hills,

who comforts the sick

and kisses the boo-boos

and manages everything with my lopsided grin.


“Do not pass this way again,” the policeman said to my black staff—

What kind of messages do we send? 

Old ones of exclusion, racism, “You do not belong.”

But we do, all of us.


I’ve come to this gorgeous school to remember, to imagine, to foresee, to dream big, but

Nothing is clear yet.

I can’t see my future.

The crystal ball feels cloudy.


But to prepare to see it,

to come to this conference,


Moved 60 clay oil lamps out of the way

Kissed my puppy on the forehead

Didn’t kiss my toddler, who was mercifully sleeping,

Caught the dog, offered the job,

Fixed myself up,

Picked out my daughter’s outfits because my husband doesn’t trust himself

And I don’t trust him either.

I left sub plans for conjugating verb forms,

Repotted my plants,

Watched the pre-K mermaid show.

I scooted around on my new scooter—40 is the new 20, right?

The right age to scoot!

Scoot around, scoot into a new school?  A new role?  Maybe.


I pranced around.

Watched Nature Cats,

Consulted my bishop,

Crowned Mrs. Lynch the Duchess of Rosemont,

Confirmed that Grand-friends really is a word—sort of,

Tried to watch the Warriors Game,

Was directed in a play by a bossy senior,

Told my spouse to bring back vegemite,

Adjudicated a debate between Daniel Tiger and the Prince of Egypt


Talked to the school attorney about an employee who is leaving badly.

Smug, we know none in this room would ever leave badly. 


I suggested oblique memes were not an appropriate campaign strategy, though

    Since we see it, we can be it—no, that’s not right


I sent an email to launch a network

Feared I might conflate three quick emails—I should not write three quick emails--

Read an email about Game of Thrones from a first grade parent,

Sent a disappointing email--

Detentions are coming for the chrome books left behind.

Tried to delete the email I sent by accident--

And then another one.  Sigh.


I listened to a Kindergartener read Scooby Doo Bakes a Cake with hard words like Zoiks and Jeepers!


Helped my Uber driver find my house—what was that about?

Drank my coffee alone in the car,

Sat in a very small plane on a tarmac, waiting.

My husband lied to me.


We waited to drop fuel because the plane weighed too much

What exactly is it that I am waiting for?

Just tell me, but until I have clarity, I


Celebrated my new role, was just appointed to a new job.

Went to a baby shower.

All these changes.

I’m excited, I’m terrified.

What am I afraid of?


Will I be bullied by these strange women into considering a chapter I fear considering.

Very likely. 

I started to cry and then got it together.

Of course you did. 


My state, Tennessee, ranks 49th out of 50 in status of women

Ladies, we have some work to do.

Please go to school today and make good choices, dear.

Like wearing underpants—hooray!


Do you think Mommy could do that job?

Mommy has goals and aspirations, too.

Why, yes, she does. 


I don’t even remember what I was doing.

It was so early.

It was too late.

I may have packed too many shoes.


I listened to a petition that suggests we use cameras to catch litterers and then throw them out of school.

While I was here, they had a tornado.

My dress flew over my head.


I snuck out on my Great Sloth’s Rumpus in the Rainforest

Backed out of my office to avoid the conversation about inviting parents on trips

Frantically texted my idea in the shower--

No, no—not in the shower—the idea I had in the shower, but I might text from the shower—if I could.

Because I do so much.


I am like a waiter from a cartoon, the plates piled in a pyramid above my head.

I don’t drop one—ever—though there is no such thing as balance.

I am sure-footed, mountain goats look to me for inspiration.


And now all these women,

these heads,

tall and small, gracious and graceful,

who make me guffaw,

are dressed up like fortune tellers--bright earrings and shawls--

To tell me they see this vision of me—a new version, new vision,

New possibility.


A long time ago, a mentor or guide

Took a bet on my future

So do we, by your sides.