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Samantha’s Daily Poem

January 17, 2016

Buy more money

I try to wash her face
but there are no wash cloths

and when I find one
she shrieks
because she’s using them all
as blankets
for her bath toys

I ask politely
and she responds
with an order

buy more washcloths

I explain that
we don’t just
buy more stuff
and that things cost money

she thinks about this
for a moment
and then orders me to

buy more money

which makes me
feel like I have ruined
her character

and I try to recall
that funny author
who writes wise books
for parents

but all I remember
is something about being
responsible to our kids
not for them
which makes me
feel worse

I look despairingly
at my two-year-old
as I solemnly plan
our next month
of austerities

and then she yells happily
wake up ev-ee-body

and swipes all the toys
into the bath
that had been “sleeping”
in a row
under our washcloths
on the side of the tub

she hands me the washcloths
and says proudly

I buy them
for you, mama

and I suddenly remember
the part in that book
where she says
don’t give them everything
they ask for but
also remember
fruit spoils when you
forget about it
not when you love it
too much.

Posted In: Parenthood | no comments
January 16, 2016

First date

Across from us
a first date

the safe questions
and then
the awfulness
of silence

the way they use their menus
as safety nets
looking but not reading

he likes her
it’s obvious
but she’s been hurt

and then he makes
her laugh

she spills her drink
he mops it up

I can smell
the hope

my husband pays our bill
and as we drive away
in our comfy clothes
I don’t wish for that newness
that electric place of potential
not knowing if we will be
misery or sweet

it’s them I can’t stop thinking about
a story with no end

does he get funnier
does she open up

I flip a coin

and I am surprised
at how happy I am
when it shows up heads

they marry

Posted In: Relationships | no comments
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.

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