Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘son’

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

tenderness.

Read Full Post »

One Wonder

 

 

 

the boy who fit in my lap

now taller than I—

an oak from a geranium seed

Read Full Post »

This year for Mother’s Day, an offering of four poems published in Telluride Inside and Out–one for my mother, one for my son, one for my daughter (that invokes Mother Mary, too), and one about the day I quit motherhood.

Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers–especially my own. I love you, mom!

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Diagnosis

Mom, he says, what’s déjà vu?

The tone of his voice tells me

he’s worried about how I will answer.

I tell him, It’s when you think

you’ve experienced a moment before

when in fact the situation is new.

Oh, he says. Well, my friend

who’s parents are doctors

says he thinks that when

I fell off the top bunk last night

and landed on the concrete floor

I got the déjà vu. And Mom,

he’s going to be a doctor, too.

My son knits his fingers into knots

as he speaks. He looks fragile,

a bird with a broken wing.

I try hard not to laugh,

but not hard enough,

and the laughter spills

between us. You don’t have to worry,

I tell him. He is not convinced.

But Mom, he says, He told me

that was why I could fall on my head,

but it is my leg that hurts. And

he told me that’s why I might do

stupid things even if I’m really smart.

I take my son’s worry to heart. It feels familiar,

like an alley I’ve walked in before,

like a familiar room, like a voice

I have heard, like a remembered door.

My darling, I tell him, you’re fine.

And somewhere, perhaps,

in my rhinal nervous system,

a dysfunctional electric discharge

is sending a message to tell me

I’ve said this to him before.

You’re fine, I say, and unknit his hands.

Are you sure mom? he says,

knots his fingers again.

I think I’m the one with déjà vu,

I tell him. He stares hard at me,

concerned for us all.

Read Full Post »

Accidental Baptism

“Mom,” he says, “come quick.”

He pulls me out on the porch

to stare at the three-quarters moon.

“Mom, don’t you think

it looks purple?”

He says it with such urgency,

such thrill. I can make out

the violet edge and hum

in agreement. For a minute,

we hold each other and stand

in marvelous attention.

The night grass is lit,

a touch of purple in it,

even the dirty socks on the lawn

seem rinsed with light.

There is a wholeness I sometimes

doubt. It’s easier to see

what is broken. But whatever

it is that is whole tonight

has always been whole.

I fall into it like an ocean.

Read Full Post »

On the Eve

The night before he turns eleven

the boy cannot sleep. He is so alive.

He jumps on his bed and makes up songs

and can’t stop telling me how much

he loves me. Every day he becomes

more his own, which is to say less mine.

There was a time I heard every word

that he said. There was a time I could hold

his entire body in a single arm. But I was never

able to make everything okay with a kiss

or a song, no matter how much I wanted to.

What a perfect rehearsal for now when

his heart is already practicing how to break

at the cruelness of boys and the spite of girls

and the burn of wanting something you can’t have.

Still, I hold him, knowing it won’t make things all better,

hold him through the ache when he lets me.

And tonight I delight with him in his jumping

and singing until it is time for quiet.

The boy cannot sleep. He buzzes above his sheets.

His life is somehow too much for his body.

He can’t contain it all, despite that his legs

are so long, his reach so wide. And this love

I have for him, so much bigger now than it was

when he was smaller, how can that be? Walking out

the bedroom door, I feel a surge of love leaping out

of my chest, leaking from my eyes.

I don’t even try to hold it in.

Read Full Post »

In the Current

I pin him, my boy,
on his back on the floor
in the late morning sun
in the quiet kitchen
and hold him there
in the warm orange light
beneath my weight
and threaten to tickle
his belly, his sides,
and I know that he knows
that if he says stop, I
will stop, but oh,
the sweetness of what if,
how it ripens in these seconds
right before the plunder
that doesn’t happen,
our eyes locked and bright,
the morning a boat
we delight in rocking,
knowing that even if it capsizes
we both know how to swim.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: