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Samantha’s Daily Poem

March 2, 2014

The riverbank

We walk along the river whistling
which we do to lure Philomena the fish
though you can’t whistle
so you yell yoohoo

and you ask me again
if she knows we’re coming
which I confirm
though of course
all of it was to get you
to swimming lessons this morning

which makes your dad wonder
out loud again
at my deception
which I tell myself is magical
but I know it’s also
my only way through the glue
of your moods

but here we are in the end
on a quiet path
that smells of trees and snow
and we are holding hands
waiting for a fish

and you ask me
if Philomena has a lot of money
or just a little

so I try to remember
what I must have said
some added detail
to get your socks on
or to eat the last bite

the riverbank, mama
you say slowly
where the fish put their money

and at that moment
for a collision of reasons
my chest aches
and  I squeeze your little hand

oh yes, my goose
she is very, very rich.

Posted In: Parenthood | one comment
March 1, 2014

The morning you went crazy

We sit under a blanket on the couch
and you ask me again
to tell you about
how you went crazy this morning

so I start with the part
when your dad cut into the banana
for porridge

forgetting that you wanted to do the banana part
and it was our last banana
so dad offered to tape it back together
and when that only made it worse
I tried making the sliced part
into a mouth so the banana
could plead with you himself

but you were like an avalanche
of fury at this point
desperate for futile things
like orange juice in a cup we don’t own
and for it not to be Saturday

I tell you about how you writhed and flung
as though the mad
was like a big dog inside you
wanting to get out

and I tell you about how it ended
with a trick about raisins
and how when you finally ate the porridge
the calm was thick and sudden
like pouring water on a fire

but your favourite part
is when I tell you about
the middle of the storm
when you marched over to me
and said

I want to kiss you

and I said

that’s sweet my goose
I would love a kiss

and you said

I said I want to kick you

which pushed me
right past my own rage
into an unhinged defeat
of laughter.

Posted In: Parenthood | no comments
February 27, 2014

The Wizard of Oz

Your new thing
is The Wizard of Oz
except for the parts
with the wicked witch
because you tell me

she’ll make you dead

but you like pointing to the characters
and what they all need

a heart
a brain
a home

I ask you what you need
and you tell me more puzzles

but then you say
no no
as if I might be a wizard
and you’d wasted your wish

I need a zebra actually

you say
and then you look at me
as if wondering for the first time
if there are things
I cannot do.

Posted In: Parenthood | no comments
February 26, 2014

Writer’s block

I eat frozen mango
out of the bag
staring at the photographs
taped to my wall

all those breaths stolen
a vault of moments
I can swim back to
when I need them

like now

I am waiting for him
at the bottom of the slide

I am in that living room
on Christmas

I am at her wedding
where I hardly knew anyone
and danced barefoot
on that cold floor

I visit all of them
as I finish the mango
shuffling from memory to memory
hoping one of them
will take my hand
and write.

February 23, 2014


The radio turned on again
by itself

the first time to a great shock of yelling
as our women won a gold medal

the next time to the news
a stable voice trying to make everything
sound sober and plain

my husband calls him ghosty
this invisible guest
and wonders if he likes other things
like radio plays and jazz

life is busy
with puzzles and laundry
so there isn’t much time
to wonder why ghosty
chose us

but when the radio blasts us
with a gardening show
it makes us strangely happy
like we have done something special
like we have somehow
earned a ghost

and then my husband thinks
to ask me if the radio has an alarm
and I know it does
before I check

I tell him yes
and we laugh
realizing our son
must have been playing with it
though I can tell
by the quiet
after our laughing
that we both miss
the ghost that never was.

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