Posts Tagged ‘parenting’



My son and I lean together over the thin resistor,

the nine volt battery, the LEDs in blue and red.


We fuss with the copper tape as it twists and sticks

where we don’t want it to stick. But eventually,


there is light, a small blue light. He can’t stop looking

at the glow on the table. I can’t stop looking


at the glow in him. I remember so little

about how electricity works. Something


about electrons being pushed through the circuit.

Ours is simple, a series circuit, with only one way


for the electrons to go. But I know that no matter

how complex a circuit, the same laws of physics apply.


It’s like love. No matter how intricate the scenario,

the laws themselves are always the same.


There are two laws of love, I tell myself.

One: you can’t predict anything. And two,


it will change you. For good. I swear

as I stare at him now, I can feel the electrons


moving in my own body. Or are those tears,

twin currents following familiar paths.

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wanting to be your lifeboat

when what you really need

is someone to let you swim





and if you live nearby, you may want to consider this public speaking class I will be teaching for the next six Thursdays through Ah Haa … http://www.ahhaa.org/calendarize/public-speaking-rosemerry-wahtola-trommer/

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Fencing 101




It starts as tag. The instructor

tapes off a strip in the room—

the piste—and my son and I,

confined by the long bounds,

chase and reach for each other.

But the person who’s it

keeps changing. “Left,”

says the teacher, and I am it.

I lunge for my son’s arm, and

“Right,” says the teacher, and

I retreat as fast as I can,

my son now charging for me.

“Left.” “Right.” “Left.” “Right.”

We learn quickly to hold

our weight low, to keep

one foot forward, to allow

distance enough to tag

and not enough that we might

be tagged back.

The game is familiar. I flush

with young joy. Later

we learn to extend

our arms before we lunge,

to advance, to retreat,

to allow just the right distance

to strike, to not be struck.

The instructor gives us

a string to hold between us—

our goal is to keep the curve in it,

not to let it go too slack, too taught.

My son and I dance

forward and back, keeping

step with each other.

both of us smiling, both of us

serious as steel. When it’s done,

we shake what would be

our ungloved hands.

We have learned just enough

to know there’s so much more

to learn. As we leave, I feel

it still between us,

an invisible string, linking us

in this odd game of love,

the world our piste,

one hand always ready to battle,

the other hand, ever vulnerable,

ready to open, to reach,

to meet the other

with devastatingly effective


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One Wonder




the boy who fit in my lap

now taller than I—

an oak from a geranium seed

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Just today, in the garden,

I found dozens of dark blue

McHugh Blue potatoes,

hard and small, their

delicious fists hiding

in the cool soil.

How wonderful the world is

if you just dig a little.

All those things you planted,

they show up, even though

everything around them

looks dead.

Don’t be in a hurry,

the woman said,

and I realized

I was wishing away

these difficult days.

Imagine how patient

the ground.


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Annual Check Up




The doctor checks their pulses,

their ears, their throats,

knee reflexes and weight

and dubs them healthy,

gives them high fives

without mentioning

(did he not notice?)

that they have wings.

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One Almost 5’10




the tree I planted

now taller than I—

my empty hand

still remembering

the weight of the acorn

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the wind tugs the leaves

off the aspen trees, many

before they’re golden—


children, I say, I love you,

and kiss their green ears

their green heads as I send


them to school,

tell them to go

do beautiful things

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In Knots



I’ve spent years learning to tie the monkey’s fist,

wrapping the long working end of the rope

around the fingers of my hand. While rocking

and nursing and feeding and soothing, I’ve held

the first set of turns in place, then made three more turns

with the rope. While reading and chasing and

swinging and catching, I’ve learned to pass the end

through the inside of the knot, to make turns inside

other turns. And pull it all tight, just so.


I have wanted to perfect this heaving line knot,

something I might use to throw to my son

to save him when he drifts away.

I have practiced the art of the throw, but it seems

I have tied my own hands by accident.

And now that it’s time to untether the line,

my hands want only to practice what they know,

holding on, holding on, holding on,

how clumsy this new art, letting go.

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The night is enormous—

big enough to hold us both

in a way that make us

seem close.

This is why I speak to you

through the stars—

not because I think

that they can hear,

but because I pray

you can.

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