14 Oct Poems for Wyatt b 4.3.15 d 4.4.15
Let us peer through this tenuous opening
The way bloody, juicy, soft
I will cover for you when it is time,
I will tell you to run, son
But until then, let us peek around the corner
Let us play in the water
Let us take our time.
My body has always been anxious.
Each stretch of muscle trained to run,
Instinctively it follows the wrong instincts
Duck when I should hunt
Hunt when I should tend
Tend when I should shun
Shun when I should mend.
I want better for you. Let us take our time.
You have learned to punch and kick.
And you have learned to smile.
Learn to stay. To hang on.
I’m sorry you have to learn so early what I have learned so late.
Hiccup your way through strengthening lungs,
Let your heart accelerate
To the cadences of words said aloud
Echoing through watery speakers
I am talking to you, loving you, wanting you to hear my message,
Wanting you to play with me
To enjoy it, take it easy, our time so close together on this earth is short
By any measure,
Each day a gift, a lovely path
Through the thinning muscle that separates their world from ours
Soon enough it will be too thin,
Soon enough it will break,
So let us take our time
With it still wrapped thick and blanketing
Your heart to mine.
These are our lives
Full of insects that crawl up leaves
Into the cups of Easter Lillies
Full of slow-turning blooms
Sometimes unfolding in white rooms
Day by day, we water them
With whatever we have at our disposal
Which is sometimes an army of hyacinth
Sometimes only our own untamed blood
Stay here in our lives in the moment
Which will never be the same, can never be undone
So I flick on a tune that reminds us to slow down
Harken in our sunny room, to the
Smell of hyacinth, make our promises to remark on
The sparkling view from where we are,
The metal-corded bridge piecing worlds together
Across abundant waters
The richness of chocolate and softness of lathered soap
The small graces we are here allotted
God’s soft kisses atop the heads of lives carried
Through quiet rooms, to help us bear the secrets
That the water, the flowers, the blood
Stitch together, seemingly without us.
We make our ernest and heartfelt requests
Throw them up like pollen, and sometimes like paint
We conjure our own secrets,
Which catch on the legs of moving things
And make their way towards the delicate folds of carpel
To leave our mark, our own stain of color
On lives stitched together, seemingly without us.
Mirror of genetics
Or the Universe’s own immaculate tessellation
The way you fit into my chest
The yin yang of your heart feeding mine, you nuzzled against my breast
Just the right size, no space spared,
Your father’s arms around us
Unit of love, three chests shared
As petals protect the seed,
Breathing, beating, protecting as One Being,
Single surge of life bursting forth
As nature had designed, the three of us, you at the core
Of this family,
Having known this miraculous Oneness,
Tell me what is left in our chests now that you are gone
Tell me what of the three of us
Has not turned to ashes?
Empty belly, empty bassinet
Stitched up womb stuffed with percocet
My strong husband in a pile on our bed
Cold cabbage leaves pressed to aching breasts
Our son’s ashes on their way.
My friends and family say
We are thinking of you,
Tell us what you want us to do
Tell us, we are grieving for you,
But I have no words, only pictures
Of his last moments in our arms
No requests, except make it all untrue.
Emily, the social worker, called
But I don’t want to talk
I want to punch and kick
But I can barely walk
I want to beat my chest and tear my clothes to shreds
But my breasts have become
Knotted lumps, a stone cage,
Bracing my heart from my fists’ rage
My hands grip-less, I sob from a heap in my bed instead.
What is the Universe protecting by weakening me so?
Itself or me? Answer me that, Emily.
I want to know
Why the Universe cut from my belly what I loved most
Why it left me too weak to intervene as it turned him to a ghost
Too weak to stand, why I had to sit
Burying him in my tears, witnessing all of it
Offering him only the hollowed torso, where he should have been, safe and warm,
I don’t want to talk to you, there’s nothing to sort– I want him back.
I want answers
And you can’t give me that.
My husband looks at me
His face a ship at sea
He says “I need you.”
Our eyes are anchor-less,
Or maybe it’s just me.
I’m not ready to go back to the shore,
Where our loved ones are waiting to grab us and hold us to the land.
I don’t want to remember what’s there—
What they know and want me to remember.
I want no more of the seasons.
Today I told my husband that I wanted to eat our son’s ashes.
He belongs inside of me until spring, when he can survive without me.
I’ve read of pregnant women eating charcoal and dirt;
Doctors shake their heads and say what she’s really craving is iron.
What would they say if I gulped down his ashes?
What would they say my blood was craving then?
Could they name the profound deficiencies everywhere inside me
That only what’s left of him could fill?
It was a sad day when our friends finally came
And I had to admit to them that you were gone;
They said they didn’t need reasons,
But we all did, we all wanted to know
About your soft hair, the heavenly smell of you,
The lungs that pushed so hard for so long
Then tired unexpectedly in the night,
Your fighting heart, enlarged from all the struggle.
We did not want this suffering for you.
We did not want to admit that we had taken the miracle of your life for granted.
So many miracles happen these days, we thought;
The carseat parked by the door.
I don’t know what color your eyes were
They were shut when they handed you to me
Your pinkish brow still warm and balmy
After so much work,
You looked like you were drifting into sleep,
Your heart rate gently falling
So tired—it was all too much
Too much to ask of someone so little and so new
Unfair of me to ask of you
To keep on trying
When I had not given you enough time to prepare
Of me to ask of you, when you had not enough time to grow,
You looked like you were drifting into sleep,
Too much of me to ask of you
Not to go.
It doesn’t say on your birth certificate or your death certificate
What color your eyes were:
Just two time stamps, nineteen hours and twenty-six minutes apart
Your gorgeous name framed on two royal blue papers;
The lost color of your eyes
Drawing black curtains over my heart.
You were not due til long after the cherry blossoms came
Long after Spring bulbs had bloomed
And summer too
End of June, I would come to you
And introduce you to the seasons.
Always, my son, we wait for the seasons.
I asked your father what happens if we plant a bulb to soon?
A fall bulb, planted in May, for example,
He said you can’t plant what is already in bloom,
Wait, wait, for the seasons.
Perhaps you are too much like me,
Impatient. Eager. Perhaps it was not you but me,
Being impatient, eager.
Perhaps I never had faith in the seasons.
my baby carved out of me
The only language my womb
Knows how to use
the blood of our clotted roots
The veins red and blue
of all promises of our making
all that we built together
red, the pool of our unity
the too-early ejection of my most prized creation
the most precious part of me
red, the heart that reached its tendrils all around him
Promises to him, Broken, cleaved
red, the bed, the vile reset
That took his heart from me
Mother of Lilies
I have become a demanding mother: “Tell me you love me!” “Prove to me that you are still here with me!”
The mother I never wanted to be.
Demanding loyalty, proof, when in truth, I hope that you are set free
The lilies unfold and I think I am holding you
Crouching down in the field of them
My chest aching just to reach you
The petals fall when I barely touch them and I feel that I have broken everything that I have ever loved
The red beetles munch on your leaves and I kill them one by one but cannot ever seem to protect you
The long list of my failures transmitting through their elusive antennae
I am the mother of lilies now
To care for them and watch them grow my new concern
I am a critical mother
Where is the random kick of your legs when you hear my voice?
Or the tiny toes that curl and uncurl as you’re dreaming?
Or that soft spot right under your chin that I long to nuzzle?
What of these things does a mother of lilies know
But still I demand them of you
As I search your spirit in the fields
I am constantly asking you questions, wanting you to comfort me through their colors
The roles reversed as I swore they would not, I am the child looking for the hand to hold
Should your absence be any excuse? Should I hover, over and over, trying to keep you close, pulled to me, rather than roaming, growing, in worlds I cannot see?
Son, please forgive me.
I am not the mother I meant to be.
I can’t stand the steel-coated conference tables
The right angles that remember nothing
I can’t breathe, ghosts kick inside me
They summon my animal self
Ears perched up, I hear everything everything
Sitting in this chair, in this board room
The fans whirring against suit collars
The pens clicking in and out, hum of voices back and forth
While my mind pads through like a wolf in the forest
Sniffing out the thing that’s out of place
The bent blade of grass misaligned with my memory
What is amiss in this slick room with straight edges
Tucked away from the natural world where my body roams inside me
I can’t feel the lilies’ heavy heads against my knees,
We are so far away
There is no trace, no memory
Of warm spots made inside folded arms
Or the heavenly scents that accompany small curves
Or the body that leans into the breeze
Wondering if it will ever carry a baby’s cry.