Once

Once a broken arm

Once a failed chemistry lab

Once a leap to water

Once a good bye too soon

Once an unexpected love poem

Once a mountain peak

Once a long time to heal

Once a night journey to love

Once an exchange of vows

Once a baby’s arrival

Confession

Saturday evening, I’m sick and in my pajamas. Most of the day, I’ve been curled up on the couch resting, watching you and Gus come and go.

It’s hard to take a time out and to miss all the weekend activity. This afternoon, when you and Gus ventured out in the rain to our favorite cafe, I missed accompanying you. I even missed participating in the ordinary things, like convincing Gus to wear his new rain boots. Which, he stubbornly refused.

Being sick is a lonely task. I appreciate you taking such good care of Gus. But, if I’m honest, I crave some of your attention. I know how hard that is to give because I’ve been on the other end of it. Gus needs a lot of attention and care .

If only I could have my mom here. That would solve a thing or two. She’d bring me chicken soup and ginger ale, if I’m lucky, jello for dessert. She’d tuck me in, rub my head, and keep me company.

Saturday evening, I’m sick and in my pajamas. Gus has had a change of heart and is clomping around in his new rain boots, anticipating tomorrow’s puddles. He tells me we’ll go splashing, but sadly, I imagine, I’ll be stuck here on the couch.

You’re in the bathroom trimming your beard, preparing for an evening out. The school’s annual Gala, it’s been on the calendar for months. I urged you to go without me, but you know how that goes. This silent, lonely part inside of me wishes you would stay here and watch a movie.

You look handsome in your suit. I feel grubby and unattractive in my pajamas. Before you go, I tell you to have fun and to say hi to everyone for me. Also, I want to tell you, please don’t talk to your pretty friend, the one from grad school, not without me there. I know it’s harmless, but I don’t know how to otherwise say that I’m feeling both a little bit vulnerable and jealous.

So, I’ll take my lonely post on the couch.

3

So many things about you say you’re almost three.

Your arms and legs are longer and slimmer. The chubby rings around your wrists and ankles are faded and nearly gone. Your favorite t-shirts are creeping up your belly, and the bottoms of your pants, we’re constantly yanking down.

You’re talking all the time and playfully repeating your daddy’s made-up phrases. I hear you cheerfully chatter with your trucks and cars as you scoot them across the floor.

This morning, when the first Saturday pancakes were ready, you gobbled your usual two. Shorty after you announced, “Mommy and Daddy, my tum pie is not yet full!” and, lickety-split, one after the other, you gobbled another two.

Last night, I watched you dance in the living room. You twirled and shook and sang the Hokey Pokey. You were having so much fun by yourself. Something, I think, you learn to do when you’re almost three.

History

History says

you won’t bring flowers on our anniversary.

Or chocolates wrapped in cellophane

heart-shaped boxes.

History says

you don’t do surprises or make ahead

romantic plans.

History says

you’ll trim toenails

when I’m too pregnant to reach.

And when my mind refuses sleep

you’ll whisper me old

favorite camp songs.

History says

you’ll reinvent pasta

any day of the busy week.

And that you’ll stop us

in a moment’s rush

to seize a fleeting kiss.

Where Poetry Hides

 

In the trusty Le Creuset dutch oven and its home on the back burner.

In the wildly overgrown tree we inherited from Josh’s stint at the library.

In the parade of mismatched coffee cups.

In the scattered stacks of mail, New Yorkers, and board books.

In the frequently misplaced items, such as binky, scissors, and corkscrew.

In the makeshift ramps and tunnels that Josh constructs for Gus’s play.

In goat cheese, tamarind crackers, and three kinds of yogurt.

In the homemade pie crusts and peach, rhubarb filling.

In cherished blue items: a retired sweater, a sapphire, velvet high tops.

In the handwritten love notes in uncommon anniversary cards.

In the overstuffed shoeboxes brimming with photos.

In the abandoned compact discs stashed on closet shelves.

In my tattered, childhood blanket that went missing for years.

In my grandmother’s silvery pendant I wore on my wedding day.

In always the same two lullabies Gus knows by heart.

In the return for more kisses even after we’ve said goodbye.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wounds

It’s hard for me to give my writing space. Sometime I suffocate it, or maybe it’s the other way around, my writing suffocates me.

Always, life, forces the space between. Gus wakes up, and it’s time for the day to begin. The writing and the writer are separated and may or may not meet again until well after 7:00pm.

Yesterday, the thought of a small open wound and leaving it to bleed came to mind. I realized that is what I feel when leaving an unfinished piece of writing, specifically when the content is meaningful or difficult for me.

I was writing a poem for Gus, but the poem became mostly about me. I drew on lessons that I had learned from my childhood, and imagined Gus learning them one day. In short, what I was writing, mattered to me.

I had come close to finishing it, when I heard Gus stirring and the clock ticking. I would soon be pulled away from my writing and there would be no resolution. I felt the wound, and the unsettling feeling of leaving it open.

Sometimes, you find your resolution when you are not writing, but when you are living. I know this, but I don’t trust it–not yet anyway. I’m kneeling with Gus at his cubby at school, helping him to take his coat off, and I find it. The last line of my poem is sitting on his soft, round cheek– it’s a loose, long eyelash.

I brush Gus’s eyelash away, and it sticks to the underside of my finger, just like I know that it will. I gaze at his eyelash, resting at the tip of my finger. Then, I’m there, seven-years-old again, making a wish–and I know what I need to write.

 

Here is yesterday’s poem for those who may not have read it and are curious.

Lessons

Remember that a toad will pee in your hand if you hold it for too long.

Remember that it’s the blue snow cones that stain your lips and tongue.

Remember that, almost always, the line for the tilt-a-whirl is worth the wait.

Remember to let fallen soft, long pine needles tickle the bottoms of your feet.

Remember that when the moonlight filters through the trees, to turn off your flashlight.

Remember to quickly rip, not peel, the bandaid from the scrape on your knee.

Remember that the eyelash you find on your cheek is worth at least one wish.

Lessons

Remember that a toad will pee in your hand if you hold it for too long.

Remember that it’s the blue snow cones that stain your lips and tongue.

Remember that, almost always, the line for the tilt-a-whirl is worth the wait.

Remember to let fallen soft, long pine needles tickle the bottoms of your feet.

Remember that when the moonlight filters through the trees, to turn off your flashlight.

Remember to quickly rip, not peel, the bandaid from the scrape on your knee.

Remember that the eyelash you find on your cheek is worth at least one wish.