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Samantha’s Daily Poem

September 20, 2016

Second day

We talked about it
all summer
and we walked by
the daycare often
slowing down to show you
the slide and the apple tree

we made our voices all bouncy
and told you how fun it would be

and then at night we read the books
about llamas and raccoons
going to school for the first time
and how they cry sometimes
but then the mamas
always come back

we let you pick out
new boots and we gave you
your brother’s old lunchbox

and the morning of your first day
we hugged you so long
you squirmed out from under us

you were quiet
but played with the toys
as the kids ran
around you

and when you told me at dinner
about your new friend Dominic
I added it to the invisible column
of things that went well

but the next morning
when you asked me
what car we’d take today
and I reminded you
that your new daycare
is just at the end of our block

you looked at me
confident and calm

but mama I already went

and I realized
we never mentioned
you would go every day

so that after all the books
and that long hug
you must have thought

what a peculiar fuss.

Posted In: Parenthood | no comments
August 31, 2016


They talk about summoning it
like it is waiting
in the basement

but courage
does not wait

it doesn’t even exist
until you build it

with breath
and a picture
in your mind
of what you can be

you might feel small
without it
but remember
without you
it is nothing
at all.

August 26, 2016


My kids call him Henry
the little sapling
that stands a foot high
on our forest path

he is mostly stick
with a few green wisps
of hope

and even though they measured him
this year and last
they don’t seem to notice
that he hasn’t grown at all

yesterday they gave him
a maple leaf for a hat
and ferns for shoes

like a pitiable summer version
of a snowman

and they hug him so gently
every time we pass him
leaning way down
and telling him

you’ll be big one day

that as I walked by him today
on my own
and I saw that one
of his flimsy arms
had snapped

I tied it upright
with a piece of grass
and found myself
whispering to him

you’ll be just fine.

Posted In: Nature | no comments
August 25, 2016

The end of the world

Yesterday the sea turned green
a plastic sunny colour
like costume jewelry
and the crayon kids use
for grass

even from space
you can see the bright smudge
around us

maybe God was feeling impulsive
an idea to redecorate
the whole thing
but then did a test swatch
and reconsidered

or maybe it is an algae bloom
like the scientists said
in the newspaper today

acidification of the ocean

which makes me think
maybe the end of the world
will be like this

the mountains will sink
and the sky will turn yellow
but the children will still need supper

and like last night
we will swim in the sea
one last time
holding hands
and jumping over
the funny-coloured waves

and later we’ll all fall asleep
in one bed
like we always do

and I will wonder
with unexpected calm
at the simple miracle
of their soft limbs
and the rhythm
of my loyal breath.

August 25, 2016

When you are a teenager

Will you remember
the road trip
when we sang
Christmas carols
in August

and that we let you pick
the chocolate chips
out of all the muffins

will you remember
that we took
an alternate route
through a suburb
and called it
an adventure

and the part
on the freeway
when you cried
because you wanted a blanket
so dad took his shirt off
and then sang
even louder

will you ever wonder
what was it that your dad
whispered to you
as he carried you asleep
that night
out of the car

I’ll tell you
because it’s the same
thing he whispered
every time
he carried your body
limbs flopping all over him

I’m here
my beautiful boy
I’m here
and I love you.

Posted In: Parenthood | no comments
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