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Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

Waxing



Moon broken, my son said
when he was two,
and he pointed east
to the quarter moon.
Mommy fix it.

He believed I could.
I wanted to believe it, too,
wanted to believe
I could fix any broken thing—

the loose button on a doll,
the ripped page in a book,
a scraped up knee,
a tattered dream.

Tonight I gaze
at the low crescent moon.
I have lost my belief
in fixing.

Count me among
the broken things.
And my son is gone.
And my son is gone.
And the beautiful moon slips lower
into the almost dark.

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Dear friends, 

It has been seven weeks since I sent you a poem–seven weeks since my son chose to take his life. Thank you for all the ways you’ve supported me in this time–prayers, emails, letters, gifts. Though I have been unable to respond to all your kindness with personal notes, please accept my enormous gratitude. Thank you. Thank you for all the love and kindness I have felt surrounding and infusing me–I have never felt alone. I am so grateful for you. 

I think I am ready to continue the daily sharing. We’ll see how it goes. 

with love, 
Rosemerry




Digging Potatoes, 2021



I am not the woman I was
a year ago when my son and I
harvested potatoes. Today
I must look like her—
bare hands in the dirt,
sunhat on. But she did not know
the deep loss of losing a son.
Perhaps she’d imagined it.
That is why she did everything
she could to keep such a loss
from happening. But the woman
I am today knows all too well
what I cannot control.
I plunge my fingers
into the cold earth
and talk to my son
as if he can hear me.
I miss you, I say. And I reminisce
about all the other years
we did this together. I ooh
at the size of the potatoes,
hold them up as if he can see.
What does love care of absence?
Love grows, despite death—
it roots in each cell and insists
on tendrilling, touching everything.
In the middle of the night,
a voice commanded me to remember:
Life needs us to live it.
All day I puzzle over the message.
All day I lean into the words.
I say them out loud as I pull out
potatoes, ask my son what he thinks
it might mean. No reply. He has become
one with life now in a way
I cannot yet understand.
And so I breathe into it, this chapter
of loss, this life needing me to live it.
All around me, inside me,
I notice how so much is changing, notice
in each moment, a new invitation.

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When in Rome




What a loss it would be
to not have born so I
would have missed a
Thursday night like this
in which my son and I
walk the dark streets
in Georgia and watch
the lightning transform
the sky into pink flares
and smell some sweet
unnamable flower and
talk about Dodge Chargers
and knees and roaches—
I swear it has all been
worth it, every second
of fifty-one years, for this
hour in which there
are no bells, no shoulds,
no other tugs except
to take the next step
down the centerline
while in the distance,
raps another clap
of thunder.

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If I could do it all again,
I would—every blooming bit of it.
Every bout of pink eye,
every snotty nose, every
late night waking, every
single reading of Good Night Moon,
every fairy house, every
drive to every ballet class,
every singalong to the entire
soundtrack of Hamilton,
every wobble and stumble
and blunder and lapse
to arrive at this very moment
when we lie on her bed
in the dark and talk about
this miracle, this astonishing
life, and watch dumb videos
and curl into each other.
In every moment, a seed.
It surprises me now,
how beautiful the field.

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One day, I will walk into the quiet,
calm of the empty home. No TV.
No pinging of phones.
No one asking what there is to eat.
No one wondering if I can drive them.
No one telling me their dreams.
I will hear only the sound
of rain, of thunder,
of the wind rattling the inner doors.
Perhaps I will hear my own pounding heart,
the heart I thought belonged to me.
But there, in the dim light of the storm,
I might at last know for certain
the heart is made for giving away.
There are many ways to love.
Some of them are clearest
when I am most alone.

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Recalibrating




I would like to go inside your pillow, hear
your breath and know you are okay, catch
the tears you cry when no one else is looking.
Today, you told me you don’t want to be held,
but I still want to hold you—want to meet you
with gentleness, support. How many years
have I been the one to comfort you, the one
you would run to, the one who could make
things feel better with a kiss and a shhh
and slow rocking of our bodies.
A pillow wouldn’t take it personally
if you didn’t use it. A pillow wouldn’t wonder
what it did wrong or wrestle with letting you go.
I try to invite that softness into myself,
try to transform my woundedness into feathery
acceptance. There is some unlikely magic in this—
a downy inner quiet that doesn’t try to fix anything,
that is content with being soft. And nothing changes,
and everything changes, oh terrible surrender,
oh beautiful tenderness that appears inside this loss.

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In the Heart




your
words
a clap
of
thunder
lightning
striking
close

and
me
without
an
umbrella

down
these
cheeks
it
must
be
the
rain

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Of course I knew the mint
would take over the pansy garden—
I planted it anyway.
Now the garden is overrun
with thick ropes of roots
and there’s mint in everything—
the garden, the lawn,
my hands. Even if I tried
to pull it all out, it would return
with its cool, bright scent of resilience.


It is, perhaps, similar to the way
a mother thinks she knows  
just how deep the roots of love
will go. But I, I had no idea
how, despite drought, despite
poor soil, love’s runners
would spread through every
inch of my life, untameable,
and just when I might think it gone,
new sprouts erupt
fragrant and green,
sweet and fresh,
everywhere, everywhere.

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Motherhood


            —with thanks to the wise Rebecca Mullen
 
 
Today, again, I praise the beaver
who spends her life building,
rebuilding, rebuilding
her lodge where her young will live.
With small sticks and big sticks
and tall solid trunks,
with logs and rocks and mud,
with her teeth she builds a home,
builds it on moving water.
 
Because rain, because snow,
because warm, because cold,
because flow, because flow, because flow,
her home is forever in need of repair.
 
And so on a day when a surprise storm
has flooded the stream
and washed much of my lodge away,
I honor the beaver,
stalwart, resilient, habitual.
I notice the longing to move to land,
then I gather new sticks of courage.
Stones of forgiveness.
Logs of compassion
and the deep sticky mud of love.
I wade to the middle
of the current.
I, like all the other mothers,
I build this home again.

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I try not to take it personally.
The country is not for everyone—
lazy stream and open field
and airy glades of cottonwood.
I walk out in the dead grass
and realize how much I love
the dead grass. How much
I love the red stained willows,
bright squawk of jay and scent of mud
and lack of pavement, lack of horns,
lack of benches and stores and street lamps.
I prefer the bustle of birds at the feeder
to any human throng.
 
It isn’t wrong for him to love something else,
the heart loves what it loves,
though I long to defend the smooth flat stones,
the hawk that even now circles the field,
the mice making arteries through snow.
I wish he were happy here, says the heart,
unable to reconcile the rift.
Across the river, snow sifts in thin white wisps,
escapes through dark red cliffs.
 

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