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Samantha’s Daily Poem

January 15, 2016

Start the whole night over

I am better
when they turn three

I tell myself
as I look at the clock
and feel guilty
for wishing
it was bedtime

then she asks
for the six hundredth time
if she can watch videos
on my phone

and I ask my husband

can you feed them
and play with them
while I lie on the couch

and he says yes
either because he loves me
or because he’s scared
of what might happen
if I don’t

she asks about the phone again
and I wonder if I should make her watch
a whole day of Wheels on the Bus
like when they made you smoke a pack
of cigarettes in the closet

but instead I prop myself up
and try to sound

I ask her if she wants
an elephant
as a snack

she says yes
so I pull an imaginary one
out of my pocket
and she pretends to eat it

I ask her if she wants another one
which she does
so we do it again
and she laughs

I ask her if she wants a pig
this time
but she shakes her head

no, mama
I too full

which makes me laugh
and also want to cry a bit
and kiss her nose
and start the whole night over
but I know
that it would only be for me

because in her relentless tide
of days and nights
she just needs me
to be like the sun

to be warm
and show up
again tomorrow.

Posted In: Parenthood | one comment
January 13, 2016

Why not

You ask me
if we can buy marshmallows
and before my jaw
obeys the habit
of no

I stop
and say

why not

your eyes get big
and you ask me

a whole bag

I smile
and we jump in the car
and sing
the Sound of Music
theme song
really loud
he whole way

and when we get
to the grocery store
you take my hand
and ask me if I’ll skip
down the aisle
with you

I feel shy
but I say

why not

and you kiss my hand
and pull my ear
close to your mouth
and whisper

this is the time
of my life

you eat two in the checkout line
and on the car ride home
you count out half
and even though I decline at first
you smile and say

why not

and then we agree
it feels like we’re hugging
when we share.

Posted In: Parenthood | no comments
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
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