NaPoWriMo, Day 18 (belated)

He has scribbled black Crayola all over

his face, a mask he grins through

with a front tooth missing.  He announces

he is now Captain Baby Pants

and that he has no super powers,

but I beg to differ.

 

He has strength enough to stretch me

into previously unmarked territory:

my personal Antipodes, cluttered

with old luggage, tarnished silver

and staircases leading to parts unknown.

He has a mighty grip as he takes my hand

and navigates a parking lot or a psychiatrist’s office.

He can metamorphose into any beast

or being, and his voice is a sonic boom

felt in other hemispheres.

 

And at times, he fades into opaqueness

which is even more deceptive than invisibility

because while I can see him clearly,

I lose what’s behind his eyes.

 

But I scoop him up with my own mom-like strength

because it’s bath time

and I’m still discovering his secret identity.

NaPoWriMo, Day 17 (belated)

Catch-up day!

 

MEDUSA BOUND

 

Mirrors be damned.  You ran

your hands through your untamed hair

without fear of poison.  The wide, slitted eyes,

the teeth, they knew better, knew

they’d be swinging in the wind

without you.  It was good to be needed.

Besides, you knew yourself as a reflection

and had no need of a glass.

Men’s faces twisted into your likeness–

you ran a finger over the granite lines,

smoothed their brows, tested the edge

of their teeth.  They stayed warm

a long time.

NaPoWriMo, Day 16 (belated)

This week has been rough on my writing–both my younger son and I have had a cold, which left me exhausted at the end of each day.  I did write Day 16 on Monday, but was so tired by the end of the day that I couldn’t bring myself to fire up my laptop and post it.  So here it is today, with subsequent catch-up poems to come in future posts!

 

THE HALLWAY

 

She is a walking memory

embedded in dust.  A scratch

in a wood floor.  A held breath.

She passes the doorway

in dignified procession, hands folded,

no heavier than a dust mote’s footstep.

What draws her here,

even in daylight

when other wisps have spent themselves

and retired to debris?  What story casts her

to walk this hallway

in only one direction

like a message in a closed bottle?

NaPoWriMo, Day 15

Halfway there!

Today’s official prompt had me thinking about villains…and for some reason, only Narcissus came to mind.  I know he’s not a real villain, but I followed the thought.

 

AFTER ECHO

Narcissus loved more than himself.

He loved the water for holding

his reflection so tenderly

and the muddy banks for their slope.

He let his fingers sink in as he knelt,

the cool ooze between them and under

his palms, he imagined them to be flesh.

He loved the sun for tousling his hair

and warming his bare shoulders

and the breeze for stroking his back.

He closed his eyes, brows raised

and lips parted, as the world

embraced him as a lover would.

NaPoWriMo, Day 14

SPRING IN MICHIGAN, 2018

 

They said rain was coming today,

freezing on the way down

into pellets.  We prepared

for heaven’s ammunition,

bundled up at home.  We moaned

about spring in Michigan

and global warming.

We cleaned things

since it’s spring, after all,

and that’s what you do in spring

in Michigan when you’re home

waiting for an ice storm

that never came.  We felt cold

burn our skin when we

investigated, but the pavement

was dry.  Tentative steps

to the mailbox, the way

you can’t just shake off

the memory of being a target.

NaPoWriMo, Day 13

After a looooong day, this one was a bit of a cheat.  I’d started this poem some time ago, but finished it today.  So that counts, right?

BEAR THE WEIGHT

 

Pain is weight.  Anger is weight.  It sinks us daily

sometimes, and I claw for air.

There may only be moments of breath

before he spirals down again.

 

As a mother, I bear the weight.

 

First the pediatrician, then the psychologist.

There are theories, medications, occupational therapy

for a beautiful boy with brown eyes and invisible anchors

tied to his body.  He’s too young, they say,

for a solid diagnosis.  We wouldn’t want a label

pulling him down.

 

As a mother, I bear the weight.

 

I put my arm around his shoulder.

He rests his head against me and we sink

into the couch together.  He smells like

feet and the Oreos that he ate after dinner

that still linger at the corners of his mouth.

 

In the recesses of his mind, the one

that wrings him limp from one moment

to the next, that I have to remind myself

is in more control of this than either of us,

I pray he knows

with my tired body

and my dented heart

I will bear the weight.

NaPoWriMo, Day 12

This one comes from the NaPoWriMo prompt of the day to write a haibun–not something I’ve ever tried before!  For inspiration, I looked back to one of my favorite travel adventures in recent memory, in which my best friend and I toured our home state of Michigan for ghost towns and other abandoned treasures (you can read our blog about it here)

CHERRY HILL CEMETERY, NIRVANA, MI

Hello, ghosts.  The wind

has rumbled your tired headstones–

ancient teeth breathing.

Names have faded, but each knows its own,

huddled together under pine trees.

The weeds grow up, around, pulled from their beds

in hopes of sunshine.

Ghosts, are you the mist

rising slow at morning’s light?

A whisper follows.

NaPoWriMo, Day 11

I was so tired last night that I accidentally labeled it Day 11, although it was really Day 10.  So here is the REAL Day 11!  I went with the prompt du jour from yesterday on the NaPoWriMo website, which was to write a poem in which multiple things are happening at once.  This prompt spoke to me, because, well, my life.

 

TUESDAY MORNING, 6:52 A.M.

The cat meows–chirps, really–

for his breakfast.  I’m watching

the clock and considering the definition

of late.  My eight-year-old feeds the cat

before feeding himself, like how on airplanes

you’re not supposed to give your child an air mask

before you fix your own, because what good

are you to anyone if you can’t breathe.

 

Late is when the clock’s hands

are no longer a metaphor, I decide,

so I read the news on my phone.

The cat eats noisily.  Sometimes he growls

when he’s happy.  I take this to mean

that journalism is dead, since our own eyes

can’t tell a gun from a phone,

or whether vaccines cause autism,

or whether the earth is flat.

 

A meteor lands on our breakfast table.

It’s small, so no one minds.  The cat

growls his approval.  My son, who loves science,

collects it for show and tell, leaving behind

a tiny scorch mark.  I google

how to get burn marks out of finished wood.

NaPoWriMo, Day 10

HOW TO TIE A SHOE

 

Step one: lay your laces to either side.

Consider how vast that distance is

to a tiny creature, how uncertain

the terrain.

 

Step two: choose a method.  Sometimes many paths

lead to the same place–

Buddhists say there are eight of them,

flaming staircases converging in rightness

as you twist the bunny ears and loop through.

 

Step three: develop an understanding of tension.

Even spiderwebs have a sort of diplomacy about them.

 

Step four: prepare for tears.  Near misses

hurt more than outright failures.

Your laces may not be long enough,

so measure carefully in units of intention

or desire.  Note: your laces will never be long enough.

 

Step five: inhale to standing.  You are now

ready to move in any direction.

Choose wisely.  Double-knot just in case.

NaPoWriMo, Day 9

The prompt from today’s NaPoWriMo blog called to write about something small and something big meeting.  Here’s my take!

 

My young son, my bread loaf

blanketed in his cradle, fist balls

clutched tight to his chest, howls

into the Kermit-green cave

of his room, unable to make out

my scent or blink through blurry eyes

at the indistinct roundness

of my face.

 

I’m in the bathroom.  This is no easy task

for a woman post-birth; it requires care

and a peri bottle and time

to avoid the tear-stitches and hemorrhoids.

I hear the call but can’t answer, can’t rise

from this maternal throne

though the ache in my breasts tugs me

towards the door.

 

My older son, my string bean,

halfway to losing his toddler roundness,

approaches.  I see this

through two open doors.  I see

his hand come to his brother’s chest,

barely able to reach over the railing.

I see his lips purse in a shush

that calls to mind water, and motion,

and closed eyes.

 

S’okay, he says.  Mama’s comin’.  Don’ cry.

 

Quiet and dust motes and slatted afternoon light.

An infant hiccups his tears into peacefulness.

A brother is born.