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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.

NaPoWriMo, Day 8

METEOROLOGIC DESIRE

 

Lightning, stretch your jagged fingers

to the earth.  Something is calling you,

some slice of metal, some tree.

Spread your intricate lace tongue of char

across the ground fanned out from the kissing point

and the rain (if any) will soothe it.

Come, ion strike and tense air

snapping, rending. Split stone

or wood or bore straight into earth,

a conduit for angelic rage.

NaPoWriMo, Day 7

Hard to believe I’ve made it a whole week! Today’s a challenge because of my schedule, but I’m cranking this out just to stay on track.

 

PIECES/PEACE

Fractured and tense.

The faces are there, but their cheeks are hollow–hot air never seems to last.

 

Silent night

Holy night

 

How long can a sharp line hold?

Can it learn elasticity

or will crackle come to breaking?

 

All is calm

All is bright

 

And the pieces glow

into radient shape

They learn form, molecules collaborating

into a soft heart rhythm.

 

NaPoWriMo, Day 6

There’s been a trend on social media lately for women to describe themselves the way a male author would in a novel.  The results have been highly amusing, so I thought I’d do my take on it as a poem for today.

CHARACTER DESCRIPTION

Maybe she was once the kind of girl

I could have convinced to have a drink

even though she doesn’t like the burn

of whiskey down her throat.

 

She doesn’t wear her late-thirties well.

You can tell she eats her feelings

with a slice of chocolate cake each night,

curled up on her microfiber couch

(stain resistant for the kids, of course).

But her breasts would fill both my hands

to overflowing

 

so that’s something.

NaPoWriMo, Day 5

SPEAK NOW

 

I will hold my peace:

cradle it in the bowl of my lap

so gently, lest it spill

loose ripples to the floor,

seep into the boards

where I can no longer

feel a pulse, no thrum

of rightness to absorb

with my fingertips.

Speak now, it tells me;

speak forever.

NaPoWriMo, Day 4

TWITCH

The weight of his gunmetal tongue was staggering,

relentless.  A projectile of marked velocity, propelled

by an explosion–in this case, uncontrolled.  I had deflected–

turned a vulnerable shoulder to his trigger finger, left a strand

of hair that must have tugged in just the wrong way–

just enough–or not nearly–depending on which of us you asked.

The sex we never had  made him twitch.  Someone told me later

it was because he liked me so much

that he wanted me to vanish.  That he wanted to do the vanishing.