Pigtails frame the television screen;
Strands of curly brown hair escape their ties
And brush and tickle the tip of my nose.
Squirmy legs sprawl across my lap –
Little feet kick me in the face.
No longer a person of dignity,
My academic credentials mean nothing,
Nor does success or failure in my career.
Now I have only one purpose in my life:
I am furniture.
I am a resting place for small legs and arms;
I am a chair on which sparkling brown eyes watch TV.
All furniture – beds, bookcases, chairs, sofas –
Has limited life.
Cushions flatten and upholstery fades.
Backs and bottoms need new, ergonomic seats;
The old ones are cast off,
In dumps and in consignment auctions.
So will my term as a sitting piece end.
You will vacate my lap someday, whether soon or late.
Your foster placement with us will end,
Or you will grow older,
Not needing a lap to protect you
From whatever coldness the couch contains.
Until that time, I watch your pigtails bounce;
I protect my face as I can from your kicks.
I love you while you are with me,
And I gladly sacrifice my dignity,
My professional esteem, my degrees and accomplishments
For that highest and most valued calling:
Furniture for a four-year-old girl.