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Samantha’s Daily Poem

January 9, 2016

If you had to live with any Disney villain

Everyone thinks you will be an artist
when you grow up
but you are showing
real fervor as a pollster

like this morning
when I woke up
to your breath
in my face

would you rather be killed
by a lightsaber
or a sword

I asked you if this
could not have waited

ok, if you had to live
with any Disney villain
who would it be

your dad gets to sleep in
because he used to write a lot of essays
and he answers your questions
with questions like

why Disney

so now you just ask me
and sometimes your sister
even though she answers them all with

Darth Vader

but today you asked one
that I wish I’d been ready for

mama, who invented us
Mother Earth or God

I add science as an option
but you say that’s super dumb
because you explain to me
that we invented science

and before I can clarify
you announce

there must be a good inventor
and an evil one
because the good one
would never invent
sleeping and dying

and then your sister wakes up
we make waffles
and like the pollster
whose job is done
you have moved on
and it seems it’s just me
left with the unsteady echo
of the question.

January 8, 2016

Christmas tree

Our Christmas tree sits on our deck
stripped of its ornaments
out of place and odd-looking
like a naked elf
that missed getting back
on the sleigh

I was so excited
to pick it out with you
we leaned them up
against your back
inhaling the happy pine smell
looking for one
that was exactly
your height

and of course
we wanted a lonely one
just like Charlie Brown’s
so we finally chose
one that was lopsided and thin
and you thought about it
for a long time before you named him


and then you told him
that you would love him forever

which I thought was sweet
until we got home in January
after our trip
and I tried to put away
our Christmas stuff

we fought about you hanging
the wreath on your bedroom door
and that sleeping
with the plastic Santa
would be uncomfortable

but the topic of the tree
brought tears
and incredulity
as though I had announced
I was throwing away
Granny Pat

but tree is part
of our family

you can barely get the words out
before burying
your face in a pillow

I rub your back
explaining how everyone
gets rid of their trees
and then you sob louder

can we adopt them all
please mama

which is when I decided
we would make a home
for tree on our deck
and we would keep him alive
as long as we could

because I realized right then
that what is wrong with the world
happens when people stop loving
what everyone else
calls strange.

Posted In: Parenthood | one comment
January 7, 2016

The secret to writing poems

It is not about rhythm
or being particularly deep

it’s not about rhyming

it’s not even about
the words you pick
and if you’re still
long enough
you will feel
them pick themselves

it’s just a staring contest
between you and life

it’s about getting past
the itch to write
and waiting out
the familiar

poetry is not a skill
it is a vow
to hunt for the view
that is new.

January 6, 2016

The nose nipple

I was actually feeling pretty good
new boots
nice poncho
a compliment today
on my hair

until I got home
and my daughter asked me

why you have nipple
on your nose, mama

I tell her it’s a mole
but she ignores me
and tells her brother
about the nipple

my husband looks at me
with no sympathy
since a few minutes earlier
our son had tried
to make him feel better

dad, you’re not as fat
as Winnie the Pooh

now the kids are asleep
and my husband’s at the gym
and I have eaten quite a lot
of butter

I suddenly remember
the time when I was pregnant
getting into the shower
and my son asked me

mama, is your bum growing big
so that the baby
can come out that way

I laugh so hard
I wake my daughter up
so I go in and lie next to her
whispering to her
what I realize they have been
saying to us all along

you’re perfect
you’re perfect



January 5, 2016

Falling asleep with my kids

It’s the same every time
I wake up
in my clothes
like I’ve been drugged
and left in this small bed

I lay in the dark for a while
feeling hungover
trying to remember
what I have due tomorrow
what window of work I have wasted

I walk to the bathroom
like an old person
I brush my teeth slowly
stopping to yawn

I pass my husband in the hallway
I put my hand up
and I shake my head
the moment is silent
but he knows what it means

I lost

I remember the part
when I was hanging on
but the undertow of fatigue
got me again

I lie down in my own bed
curled up
like an abandoned thing

I fall back asleep
and dream I am flying
free and high and light.

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