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Samantha’s Daily Poem

January 12, 2016

The ordinary moments

I have become the age
when the photo of my husband
on the wall above my desk
can suddenly make me cry
thinking about how I will
look at it one day
and want so much to talk to him
after he is gone

even though he’s downstairs now
working on his novel
and I can hear him
chastising himself
for snacking again
after brushing his teeth

but even his closet
looked sad to me today
and I could see
I will be that person
who can’t open it
for years

or maybe I would sleep
under a pile of his shirts
and put them all away
every morning
so my kids never
found out

he comes upstairs
with his laptop
and he shows me a funny clip
of a new show
and I laugh too

trying not to think
about how so many people
quietly ache
to relive
a moment
so ordinary.

January 11, 2016

David Bowie’s on the bus

I tried to listen
to a David Bowie song all day
but my two-year-old didn’t nap

so there we were
in traffic
on our way to pick up
her brother from school

and she has my iPhone
listening to YouTube versions
of Wheels on the Bus
but none of them are right

I no like this one too

she cries
and I offer fruit
then crackers
then cake

but nothing is working
and then she drops the phone
which makes her really cry
and I almost yell
but instead I start singing
as loud as I can

David Bowie’s on the bus
and he sings so loud
he sings so loud
he sings so loud

this makes her suddenly quiet
then she laughs
and sings along too
laughing each time I add
a new verse

and when we pick up my son
we are still singing it
and dancing like monkeys in our seats

who’s Davey Bowie

he asks and I tell him
he was one of the greats

and I wonder later how Bowie
would have handled all that
with his own kids

of course I’ll never know
but I suspect
he would have
the spectacle.

January 10, 2016

The pressure to get outside

It’s one of those sunny winter days
cold but not too cold
the trees look regal
the crows bounce around
almost cheery

it also happens to be Sunday
so the urgency to be

out there

is loud in my head
in a way that is part
my own desire
and part a baggy sense
of duty to do what
good humans do

but the two-year-old has a cold
and the five-year-old cried
for a long time because
his dad played his guitar

on top of my talking

and suddenly
Madagascar 2 is on
and the sun has set

but I’ve decided not to feel sludgy
because joy does not
favour fresh air

and if you’d been there
when my son called my cell phone
from the dining room
to ask me could I tell him more often
that he’s good

you’d have seen that
the hug that came next
was a landscape
so beautiful
a painter would have
ceded defeat.

Posted In: Parenthood | no comments
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
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