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napowrimo day 20

in which I fully embrace sentiment and (perhaps) even cheesiness. This is not so poetical. But, it is felt.

 

Thankfulness

 

Today a child’s toy carried me

out of my everyday, worrying, self.

I held the kaleidoscope, closed one eye

to look at my daughter. My heart opened

in a fast rush, to see her smile

caught and held,

but not one smile, twenty

of them. She laughed, and asked,

‘how many of me do you see,

a million?’ And I moved it a fraction

and her eye blinked, that eye

whose color I can never quite

fathom. Greedy, I turned the toy

in the direction of my baby. Rewarded

with twenty chins, and then twenty noses.

Each part of her perfect. Each part of them.

How long I waited, how much I tried, and every month

found me finding more ways things could go wrong. Even

something as minute as her heart beat can

unhinge me. Its never quite taken for granted ness.

Sometimes I think I could spend a whole day

saying thank you. Thank You: to every friend who helps me,

thank you to my family, who made me, thank you to the crazy

intense universe of living. I could fall

to my knees right now, struck

not speechless, but speech

full. Gratitude, rushing

through me. Cellular and infinite

all at the same time.

napowrimo day 17

The Art Supply Store

 

Easels guard the doors. Then

frames, uncoupled and unmeasured,

full of potential. A circular rack

holds small books of -just

waiting to be colored- pages. Then the chiseled

markers. Trays of large paper. Stacks

of blank canvas. An aisle of journals,

paper plain or decadent. Brushes

small enough to paint a hummingbird’s

eye, and large enough to give weight

to a rock. Paints mixed with oil,

paints mixed with water. Segmented

hands, human figures,

even a horse. The watercolor paper

edges soft, absorbent. Unsharpened

pencils range smooth to hard.

How I could take one, even now,

and draw his profile from memory

with just a few sure strokes. But,

my hands are clumsy, unpracticed.

A few things lay in wait. I may know

her face more than my own. I pass

by the art supply store, hesitant, yet

knowing that those images, all

of these indrawn moments must

wait. Responsibility wars with a fierce

longing. My daughters await, one thirsty,

one ready for a story. My fingers long

to be smudged with graphite, my days

and minutes to be uncounted, ready

to be filled with color. Later,

on this day, the one I inhabit,

I’ll pick up a piece of chalk

and make winged beings fly

across the solid blue of my children’s

room. It is enough. This temporary

creation will do, for now. Dream

of alizarin crimson and cerulean blue.

napowrimo day 15

this needs work, but it is as done as I can do, today.

Fixed

 

Central, watched: the mother. Even a moment away causes wailing cries: the child almost heartbroken. A few seconds are akin to eternity, as a day can be a large part of a lifetime. True relativity, I inhale patience, try to remember how few days she has been alive. Each person in this room needs my care. Food, water, ice. My father is fixed in his hospital bed. Even his breathing is assisted. I wonder of he’ll ever go outside again. I rotate from baby to child to parent, giving food, or drink. He asks me what day it is. Thursday. Five minutes later, he asks again. I can’t tell, when I wake, how much time has passed, he says. Since I was pregnant, it seems I’ve been aware of every minute. This exhausts me, but, I can’t seem to change. Tethered, by choice, as the main sustenance for my babies, I remind myself that these days and years are temporary. Yet, when the baby awakes at 1 and 4 am, I am bleary: this night seems never ending. It is no longer Thursday. When I wake, who knows who will share this day’s air with me? We breathe deeply, in and out of dream. Who knows what tells my daughter to call for me, but she does. And, I respond. A photograph used to be temporary until fixed. That moment of perusal, in the red lit room, I’d watch my father hold the paper up, and then dip it in the fixer. A slow wash. Always that moment of decision that separated possibility from permanence.

 

napowrimo day 13

Blossom Moon

 

Sudden bud and bloom,

this season I barely noticed

last year. Birth came fast and hard

and left me torn, bruised, but with

an extraordinary sense of instinct. I used

 

to be rather cerebral. Theories, -ism’s,

and theologies dripped from my

tongue. Then this: a resetting

of the self. Unable to pretend

 

to be anything but mammalian. Something

I was good at without study or practice.

Giving suck, giving milk. Lactation

is often messy, starts painful, and then reaches

some place of calm. We retreat

 

to the overgrown arbor of the arboretum,

my just turned one year old, and I.

As I settle into shadow, I discover

why this space is deserted. Bumblebees

swoop and careen, so numerous

 

that two run into each other, fall

to the stones in a furry yellow tumble,

and then re-air. I surrender myself

to stillness and trust that we

are not what they want. She drinks, she wiggles,

 

and bees continue to stumble through air. She

pulls herself up into an almost stand. We

have a name for the look a baby gets

when she has recently fed: milk drunk.

These bees are overcome with this sudden

 

spring. Sun drunk, pollen drunk. We revel

in what nature provides after a long and hard winter.

napowrimo day 10

Rebecca Infinite

 

That eternity holds a permanence

akin to infinity has rarely bothered me.

They are both too large for me to fathom,

and become, somehow, comfortingly

unknowable. A year ago, I traced my genealogy

back 200 years, and found a (many times) great-grandmother who bore

seventeen (living) children in eighteen years. Heavy with my

third child(second to live), I couldn’t make sense

of even that quantity. Seventeen in eighteen. And,

I never knew her name until I found it, online. She is too

far back in our family history, marrying in 1802 in Pennsylvania.

I am her connection to eternity, forward, as she is to mine,

preceding. But, is time a line? Light moves faster

than any measureable object. But what of the mind? Last night

I dreamt I was a star, visiting distant stars,

for just a moment. When I woke

from that dream and into another, I worried,

what happens when a star goes visiting? Who minds gravity and

how do her planets know where to circle? But in the dream,

as a star, there was no worry, just space: comfortable, easy to travel,

a brief moment with someone equal, someone not bound to me by

anything but love.

napowrimo day 8

Late-winter Hike

The ground deceives us.
Glacier left stone juts
beside leaf-drifts.
We take respite between snow
falls and begin to climb.

We four are the only humans
in view. As we descend
a wobbly feeling in the knees,
scrabble of foot against
rock and thin sticks. Quiet

engulf us, lichens bloom. Slick
edges of mud dark against ice
that climbs any stationery
thing. All of that rushing:

water and air, tree and stone,
and us. Reminded of our own
fragility, of how easily
we could be broken, in this space
bare of any softness.

napowrimo day 7

Impatient, we watch the rain gather

where we want to be sitting. Some

weather delivers a clear message: find

other amusements. Unmake

the bed. Let the child build a fort

instead of picking up her toys. Watch

the baby stand without realizing she

is standing. And then fall once she realizes

she is up. Over and over. The radio tells me

that repetition is pleasant, and will breed

familiarity and joy. Stuck

in the drudgery of cook and clean,

with a backdrop of cry, I try

I really do, to embrace some of the joy

they report. Dip the spoon in the food,

spoon the food into the mouth. Mix

more food. Take the pillows from the floor

fort, and remake the bed. Listen to the un-

cry-filled air. Finally. The rain continues

into the night.

napowrimo day 3

I wrote this last night, but only was able to get on here now to post.

 

The Rocket Ship, three tickets

 

Creaking and cantilevering,
the machine wavers, then works.
I watch her face flash a momentary fear.
That moment when lift becomes fall,
you know the feeling, your stomach
dropping. How some instinct says: flee.
But you can’t, and then you are caught,
your seat secure,
and safety floods through you,
more valuable after that suspension
of the body’s laws and natural desires.
Isn’t this what a carnival is about? To take us
out of ourselves, to be lifted, or dropped. To feel
every part of your body rush with gratitude
and vitality. Fear, and that that flash, as her face
rushes into joy. Even amidst the clanking mechanics
and flashing lights of a small town carnival,
some kind of grace.

napowrimo day 3

I wrote this last night, but only managed to get it up here just now.

 

The Rocket Ship, three tickets 

Creaking and cantilevering,

I watch her face flash a momentary fear.

That moment when lift becomes fall,

you know the feeling, your stomach

dropping. How some instinct says: flee.

But you can’t, and then you are caught,

your seat is secure,

and safety floods through you,

more valuable after that suspension

of the body’s laws and natural desires.

Isn’t this what a carnival is about? To take us

out of ourselves, to be lifted, or dropped. To feel

every part of your body rush with gratitude

and vitality. Fear, and that that flash, as her faces

rushes into joy. Even amidst the clanking mechanics

and flashing lights of a small town carnival,

some kind of grace.

napowrimo day 2

Cancer Dreams

1.

My lungs are filled
with tumors. I press
myself to the ground. Air
is hard to acquire. I am willing
myself done. If I press hard enough,
I am sure I can enter the earth.

2.

In the next dream I sit by my father,
telling him about my earlier dream. That
I was the one with lung cancer,
not him. We spend a lot of time talking.

3.

He is dwindling, daily. Soon
I will be able to gather him in my arms,
as surely and solidly as I hold my baby girl. As
he sleeps I look at him. His
legs are pale and hairless. Who knows when
he last stood?
His nose, sharp
and regal. We are quieter
than we ever allow
when we are awake together.

***

I had a rough night, last week, full of cancer dreams. I knew I needed to write them down. My guess is this is just the beginning of these, sadly.

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