All week I’ve been nursing a grudge against nature, forecasted to piss on my first trip away from my twin toddlers, with their father, since they were born. Been perusing the weekend forecast on weather.com and scanning the skies for some hint of treachery.
Once, your dad and I dressed you both up in small, sweet raincoats with bunnies and cars printed on them. We pulled up your hoods, and led you by your hands, out into air thick with cold and falling drops. We walked you up and down the street, both of you giddy with freedom, splashing your chubby baby fingers into any puddle you could find.
My perfectionism has been made razor-edged by years of adulting. The times of playing imagination games all day are long gone.
Confronted with a whole weekend of camping in the rain I consider my grown-up love of comfort, of cozy clothes and couches and showers fed by hot water heaters, and then I consider how what I really like is having my way. Giving myself over to pure enjoyment usually seems too high an aspiration after all these years of paying bills and meeting responsibilities, but really, all I have to do is look at you. Laughing as you wield your little shovels, fill them, then merrily dump sand all over yourselves. You’re not afraid to get dirty. You’re just here to have a good time.
And I know what you’d do if you got another chance to play in the rain. You’d take it.
Combined yesterday’s prompt to write a prose poem with today’s, which is to respond to a Sylvia Plath poem you’ve chosen (“Apprehensions”).
Day 29 Poem
Funny how depression can feel like madness. I get it. Harder to imagine circumstances that allowed for no escape. I mean, I guess I can remember a situation like that, but though it can haunt me, randomly, that’s in a different realm now, the bridge to it: I burned, deliberately. My angels and stars take a personal interest, I know their speech, and the birds-they bear no omen. You can do with expectations what you choose. You never saw the diverging path I’m walking. When the light burns through the clouds I receive it, I’ve given up my fear of stifling institutions. Someone loved me and I knew they were God. Maybe that’s the difference.
Mother of creation,
she remembers how many times she has given birth to children, to fertile fields and rushing rivers and whole oceans and galaxies full of life. To
skies and thunder, to
paintings and songs, to
joy and pain.
I want to walk a few light years in her starry crown,
know the feeling of calm confidence I see in her eyes.
She has mastered mothering. She looks like she has transcended guilt.
The mother of everything looks at peace in the queendom she’s made,
presiding over tree and waterfall and man and woman, the fruits of her labors-
still, like any parent, she has her secrets, and sometimes keeps her children in the dark. Sometimes, her gaze turns unknowable.
She is both shadow and light, life and death, and also-rebirth.
She will always be big enough to cradle me like a baby.
I feel like I failed again today, but she is looking at me,
as accepting as ever.
I want her to say, you are doing just fine.
As I learn to mother, I still need to be mothered,
I still need someone to take care of me.
And she does.
Wearing jeans instead of my usual, even more casual athleisure,
sitting at a little wrought-iron table when it’s a touch too cold outside, as little lights gleam overhead.
Taste of lemon blossom and oak on my tongue, and the smell of tobacco in the air.
The music sounds too much like hipster radio stations that annoy me,
but I like hearing the birds chirping, and the half-overheard conversations.
Relaxing on a patio, in the presence (not company) of other would-be grownups,
with a whole evening before me that is just for me-
a good reward for a long week of being someone else’s world.
‘Til they’re grown, I won’t have time to eat
until they sleep. And on repeat,
shouting cries and piercing shrieks,
as they grow before my eyes.
The time with them feels short, but sweet.
I can rarely take a seat,
or have the time to treat
myself. There’ll be fewer “my’s,”
’til they’re grown.
I won’t wish the house less neat,
won’t miss always feeling beat,
won’t wish to hear calls of “why”
won’t notice fully the ties
think often of when next we’ll meet.
Til they’re grown.
And when you wake up it’s a new morning
(almost every day).
Sometimes you still get that old sick lurch,
the sun is shining it’s a new morning
(more often than not).
And you’re safe for now, here with the things it took you so long to realize you wanted,
and even though those things could be taken away,
you learned something, back then, that cannot be (you hope).
The belief persists, despite doubt, and you are
breaking down one old fear at a time, dragging it into the light, remaking it.
Prompt: a play on the myth of Narcissus.
Day 21 poem:
Step away from the mirror, now.
Breath clouding your reflection, you’ve been here too long.
You won’t find the substance you’re seeking in the depths.
Set the iPhone down. No more selfies today.
This is not all you have to offer the world, but I am sorry,
sorry that this is what you have absorbed of the world.
I wish I could speak through the you in the mirror,
maybe if he told you-
you can do this-
you could believe it.
I wish you could see my hand, reach out and grab it, out of love instead of need,
that you could hold my hand, come with me,
come back to us.