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Samantha’s Daily Poem

September 25, 2014

My four-year-old poetry teacher



My brain is jammed
with the noise of errands
and the poem knows it

half-done
hiding away
in the quiet
of my ribcage
waiting
for a way
back in

which is how I came to see
how the noticing
pours out of you
blunt and new

like the colour of the girl’s hair
in your drawing
that is neither brown nor blonde
and you tell me
it is like a paper bag
which of course it is

and how you describe
grandpa’s face
as mushy
and that a frog
would feel like a bird
if you held it tight
in your hand

and how nuns
look like Red Riding Hood
in black and white
and how library books
smell like closets

so I kept asking
and the answers dropped out of you
obvious as stones
each one a lesson
in what it takes
to be a poet.

September 15, 2014

Working from home



I have a meeting with a graphic designer
who I also consider a friend

but still

I text her to say I’m running late
and she should come right in
and then it occurs to me
that she might hear the hum
of my breast pump
from downstairs

so I text her to tell her
what I’m up to

I add a lot of exclamation marks
to make it seem funny
or at least less awkward

but when I read it over
it appears as frenetic
as I feel

then the baby wakes up early
so we try to make her happy
by letting her chew
the graphic designer’s pen
while we try to unpack a conversation
out of a knot
of interruptions

I make her a cup of tea
which she can’t drink
because the baby
is in a lunging phase

but I use words like
priority
and we stuff budgets
into the quiet
between the crying

so I feel it’s gone well
overall
and I’m silently pleased that I remembered
the meeting at all

and then she says
in the kindest voice

I think you have a black bean
on your collarbone

and of course I do
which I pick off
and only later
do I wonder what she thought
when I ate it.

Posted In: Parenthood | one comment
September 14, 2014

Some kind of rapture



We walk around the lake
and you are grumpy
because that boy at the playground
told you Let it Go
was a stupid song
and when you told him
he was a bad person
he said he could punch you
if he wanted to

and I am grumpy too
because I’ve been trying
to get your sister to sleep
in the stroller for two hours
and I don’t want to carry her
because of the kink in my neck

which is when we see her
dressed in black
on a bench
her music stand set up
beside the path
her cello
between her legs

I ask her
if she’ll play us something
and she’s shy so I can’t hear
what she says

but the music comes
rich and throaty
and sad like what I imagine
an oak tree would sound like
if it mourned

she finishes
and tells me
that was St. James Infirmary

I tell her
she should record it
because it put my daughter
to sleep and parents
would pay a lot for that

and you have been quiet
the whole time
in some kind of rapture
so I ask

what did you think, lovebug

wondering if we will buy
a cello today or tomorrow

and then you answer
your face still bright
with reverence

I love her rainbow socks.

Posted In: Parenthood | one comment
September 8, 2014

Unusual names



As we drive past the old post office
with the big clock tower
that you call Big Ben
you ask me
like you always do
if we can go in there

it’s closed

I tell you
and this time
it really is

can I ever go in there

I tell you a friend of mine
got married there
I tell you that you don’t know them
but they have two kids
Amy and Joe

those are unusual names

you say
which makes me laugh
all the way home.

Posted In: Parenthood | no comments
September 6, 2014

Turning four



Birthdays must feel rather sudden
when you’re young
everyone shouting how special
you are for one day
giving you presents
and letting you eat
whatever you want

it’s no wonder
I found you upstairs
halfway through the party
with your old babysitter
quiet on the couch
as she read you a book

your cousin has a present for you

I told you
and as we walked downstairs
you asked me

even though I’m four
can things go back
the way they were.

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