Rise

I’m overflowing today. This rise of power and intention in me. Spilling out bad poetry I don’t care to edit yet. Hands that feel in sync, house coming together, joy in the morning, even when my meditations don’t happen. Maybe this is the manic side my mother gave me. I can go back to the editing and the contemplation and the quiet in the next dip. For now, I’m all creation, building altars and lighting flames and walking with purpose. The winter cold is brisk but clean, and I’m nesting this place in preparation for the birth of spring. Something good is coming. I can feel it.

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Pollination

You tell me you are not a cup

Because cups runneth over

You are a field

And I am rain

Maybe we are all that way

Raining on each other

Cross-pollinating everyone we touch

Maybe there are things you love in me

That were rained on me by another

That ended up in my rivers

Evaporated into my sky

And then rained on you again

When our fields met

There is nothing pure in any of us

(Or maybe all connection is pure)

My music taste broadened by my father, my husband

My mother’s nose

The ache in my spine from carrying my son

An ache that now needs your fingers

Loves we gave each other

The web we weave keeps us warm

We only know what we share

When those fields reap their harvest

Naked Psyches and Doubt

I showed you my psyche

Not the polished parts I’ve mulled over

But the half-remembered dreams

Filled with blood and veiled metaphor

(I haven’t found the decoder ring yet)

Since no one else is listening

I began to pour

And hoped that your cup of understanding

Might not overflow

Suddenly I have a twang of doubt

Realizing the depths I’ve opened to you

Nothing gilded here

Only mismatched pieces and grime

And now I lie here hoping

The parts of me I’ve figured out

Will balance the scales enough

To leave your affection untouched, at worst

Deepened, at best

If trust and nakedness are grounds for love

I’m pretty damn loveable now

Sympathy for the Devil

After a massacre

From a pile of bodies

He emerges

Wearing the body of a dead woman

I know I need to cleanse the space

Make it better

But I know I don’t have enough

If I told the truth

No one would give it to me

So I lie

Give bare minimum details

To a church full of hypocrites

‘A man in need’

The silver starts rolling in

Maybe that’s all the devil is

A man in need

Waiting for someone to paint him

A victim

The sewage runs from his borrowed mouth

And we know damaged people

Damage people

So why can’t we hold that sad child

And give him a mantra

‘I am clean’

Until it’s true

Dormancy

If the Earth laughs in flowers

It laughs in bright sex

At their boldest, carnivorous

Full admission of ravishing

At their softest, white-bloomed beckoning

Quiet moments of asking

For quiet landings

And honey-stained feet

For now, the palest of us wait

In this laughless incubation

Hoping to keep the coals just barely tended

With windowsill houseplants

And notebooks full of garden planning

Telling ourselves this year it will be different

This year we will tend those sprouts daily

Our hands will smell of thyme and earth

Baskets full of bounty will cover our table

And we won’t wait for store-bought bouquets

It won’t be long now

Our roots are patient

Spring always comes

To those who wait

Your Comforts

Little One,

Last night, none of us slept more than about three hours. You are sick, fighting another miserable cold, and until your immune system learns to fight it off, all that can be done is waiting and coating everything in sweetness.

When we were all up, passing you off from one tired parent to another, you stated a preference. Papa is always who you want when you’re sick or tired or hurting. And though sometimes I wish I could be more of your comfort, I think our strange dynamic may serve you well in the long run.

I think what accounts for your preference here is probably the way you were fed in the beginning. When I was desperate to feed you breastmilk but couldn’t make nursing work, that meant I had to pump and feed you separately. At night, that meant your father gave you a bottle while you snuggled on his chest, and I sat up in the living room and pumped. In effect, the cosleeping and bottle feeding made it so the nourishment and comfort other babies get from nursing was something you could get from either parent. But, at night, all that closeness and comfort was your father’s domain. So, I think now, you have a strange relationship with your father, one that few babies ever do with their fathers.

Biologically, humans are made so that nursing provides a hormonal bond between mom and baby, and as kids grow, there is a foundation that is established from that. The foundational belief that mothers are for comfort, fathers are for strength or provision or education. (I’m not saying that’s every case, but a lot of times, it’s true.) But with our strange beginning, you seek your father for comfort more often when we are both around.

And although it took a lot of adjustment for is to find these roles, your relationship softened your father. How many boys grow up wanting the comfort of their fathers? When we talk about father figures, it’s usually about playing catch and keeping grades up and getting advice about girls. But, for you, your father’s role is more than one that mainly kicks in later.

I don’t know what all this will mean for you later, but I hope what you will gain is a broad, sweet view of masculinity, of fatherhood, of family. While I still have a lot of guilt and regret about our early months, maybe what it all gave you is two people soft enough for you.

Hopefully,

Mama

Baptism

The magic of 3:42am water

The constant baptism of motherhood

A child covered in vomit

Still needs to be held

I’m not above the mess

So we take to the shower

Holding you against me

Letting the water warm

Your tiny, shaking body

Chubby fingers trace the droplets on my chest

“Bubbles,” you murmur

Another trembling breath

Slightly slower

Slightly sweeter

“Mama”

I know, baby

Watching each other exhale

Mirroring each other’s space

The reality of nakedness

Sagging breasts and stretch marks

Covered by the forgiveness of need

Your softness covers a multitude of sins

Those wet eyelashes blinking up at me

While the water blesses us clean