Two Ninety Nine

what if it were my real job?
then would it be okay that they mindlessly eat breakfast during the second hour
of Tom & Jerry?
while I sit here nourishing myself on waffles and the laptop
surely, I can justify the $2.99 download
if it’s childcare for work

what about for unpaid work?
to read to eat my breakfast in peace?
for pursuing a passion?
multiply the corresponding level of guilt, divide by the amount of energy you have
raise to the power of what else is on your plate today
factor in cultural expectations
(well, your own impossible expectations of yourself, I mean)
and consider the iTunes bill so far this month
and how many hours have they played outside
well, there’s even more to it-this set of formulas I use to determine whether it’s okay

I couldn’t possibly explain it all to you right now
how quickly I run through the calculations while I slowly stir sugar into my coffee
and contemplate my next (immediate) move

open the laptop and push away the guilt
and that nagging question about the passion
(do I have enough?)
(how do I know?)
(really, is it okay or not, would somebody please tell me, this is the unknown in my equation still, to pay for childcare, to justify the expense, to plug them in or drop them off ignore forget
be someone without them
for a passion?
or only for work?
paid work, right?)

it’s only $2.99
only one morning
only my life

three bites in she’s insisting to be on my lap
dragging cut up bananas and tangled hair and her attention away from the screen
setting her plate between me and the laptop
going back for her napkin buys me another few lines
a short moment to switch gears
recalculating my next (immediate) move

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