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Samantha’s Daily Poem

August 8, 2016

The balloon

You should have been asleep
an hour ago
but you were hungry
and then thirsty

and you kept playing
with the balloon
you got at the party

putting my sunglasses on it
and my hat
and dad’s headphones
which did make me laugh

and now you insist
you’ll only sleep
if balloon
goes to sleep too

so you make a bed for it
on the floor
out of towels
which keep falling off

and at first
I play along
tucking balloon in
and kissing
his blue head

but the seventh time
you tell me
the covers
on top of balloon
aren’t working

I yell
it’s just a stupid balloon

and I know
right away
the night
has won

so when an hour later
your tears now dry
balloon cuddled between us
in your bed
you ask me to tell you both
another story

I kiss balloon again
and whisper

this one’s for you.

Posted In: Parenthood | no comments
August 5, 2016

Cake at midnight

It’s almost midnight
and the hotel room
has the charm
of a dorm
but it’s clean
and I appreciate
the little bottles
because I haven’t had time
to buy my own shampoo
for years

I tell my body
it’s time to sleep
but it doesn’t believe me

like an elastic band
I have stretched myself
across states
and time zones
and despite trying to grip the ground
I keep snapping back

I’m not hungry
but I don’t feel complete
because dinner
was lunch
after all

I scan the room service menu
like a lazy lion
might drool his gaze
across the plains

warm lava cake

I know I will have it
as soon as I read the part
about the caramel sauce
even while I try to convince myself
it’s wrong

like those places up north
in summer
where the sun refuses
to clamber back down
at the end of a day
making the middle of night
bright and strange

but I hit the button anyways
and a man with an accent
takes my order

I immediately want to cancel it
or call back and tell him
to leave it outside
the door

but there he is

he’s in his seventies
and his uniform
is wrinkled

I tell him to leave it
by the TV
which feels worse somehow
and I give him a big tip
but still he looks at me

I know he is wondering
if I am bulimic
or crazy
or both

wow I’ll never finish that

I blurt out
with an awkward laugh
and we both look at the pool
of caramel and the perfect
dollop of fudge on top
and I know
that he knows
I am lying

you deserve it

he says
in his swirly accent
and after he left
and I lay
beside the empty plate
on the clean white bed
doing nothing
and remembering
how much I miss
the space between
the noise

I wonder
how he knew.

August 3, 2016

The birth of an idea

It happens every time
an idea needs to shake
out of me

I feel it growing
blurry and quiet
like an old memory

I start to snack
and scan
the online news

I pluck my eyebrows
and check my phone

I hover around myself
a dance of distraction

knowing it will scuttle away
if I look too close
too soon

so we play this game
the idea and me

like that stranger today
in the elevator

so intimate
to drop together
through the air
in a small box

but it’s rude to stare
so we pretend
it’s normal
to watch the walls

the door opens
and the stranger walks away
into the details
of his own significance

but not the idea

it grows its last limb
and falls into my lap

as friendly as the last one
letting me look it over
as if it was never hiding
as if we have been
tied together

Posted In: Creativity | no comments
July 29, 2016


She has red hair
and a wonky tooth

she is taller than him
but he tells me
their thumbs
are the same length

her name is Layla
and after he drags me
over to meet her
I tell them
I’ve met her before
in the playground

so she throws her arms
around him
and shouts
like a judge declares
a winner

see, we’re already friends

and as the sun drops
leaving a pretty smudge
of pink chalk
across the sky

he gets on his bike
and she kisses him on the cheek

he bikes fast
to show off
but then he stops
and yells

I love you more
than all my ancestors

and the last few moms
packing up blankets
and babies
clutch their hearts

as I do
feeling a cracking open
of hope

with a slight ache too
as I feel myself
wishing a five-year-old’s
uncomplicated devotion
was something

Posted In: Relationships | no comments
July 27, 2016

A quieter path to peace

You are naked
except for a paper crown
and your shouting

which you wear
like a weapon
in this battle
to get
what you want

it isn’t like you
to yell
but you want to watch
Bob the Train
on my phone
and you shout
as loud as you can

it is precious to me

which might have made me laugh
except I didn’t sleep much
the night before
so I make
a stern face

do not
yell at me

and this makes you burst
into tears
and fling yourself
off the couch
and into my arms

as you tuck your hands
into my armpits
and sob on the side
of my neck

you begin to play with my hair
your breath slowing down

and I think
if only
it was this way
for everyone

like that man
running for the job
of most powerful person
in the world

he would yell and shout
but as soon
as he felt
he was hurting

it would hurt him too
to yell

so he would soften
and slowly
find a quieter path
to peace.

Posted In: Parenthood | one comment
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