Shine

My children shine when I look at them-
as if their light is so bright it can’t be contained
within the boundaries of their excitable bodies.
They look out at me through glimmering eyes,
their vision highlighted by the brightness spilling
over their soft edges. Their world is full of possibility.

Sometimes, at night when I lay beside them,
when I hold them in my lap, savoring,
I smell their light through the tops of their head.
It takes on shape and color, texture, form.
I can see it when I close my eyes.

Their light lives inside of me-
although I could never describe it to you.
But give me blindness any day,
so I might collect their light, hoard it
until the world before me shines again.

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Body wars

My body is a temple
and temporary housing.

She is a battlefield
and a field of wild flowers.

A triage center
and a place of refuge,
carrying nourishment
to the weary young
who batter around her feet.

She is bruised and blushed,
hugged and hallowed,
held aloft and dragged down,
tickled and touched
and tugged on,
stuffed full and left empty;
surviving on the crumbs of the day.

My body is a battle ground.
My body is a temple.
My body is worshipped and forgotten,
gently coaxed into flame
and often left to fizzle.

My body has been at war
and found peace-
we’ve learned to trust each other.
This body.
She is mine and I
I am hers.

Both boys are sleeping on the couch next to me. Their bodies have been battered by a stomach flu the past 24 hours but it feels like the worst is over. Or perhaps we are in a calm between waves. I hope not. I hope that we have made it to quiet after the storm.

I was plagued by a case of the should’s; all the usual suspects: laundry, kitchen counters, sleep, toys. But I ignored them all and did what my body wanted. I sat. In one of my big blue arm chairs, with a fresh cup of strong coffee on the table next to me, I sat with my feet up, fuzzy slippers trapping the heat of the sunshine coming in through the front window. I finally put our good curtains back up this morning. They used to be our “old curtains,” wanting replacing, but then I got worse curtains and now they are our “good curtains.” I like them. They are easy to pull open and closed and don’t crease like starched notebook paper.

The thing about sick kids is that on the one hand you savor the sweet cuddles, the neediness that sickness manifests, but then there’s the vomit and the clean-up, the extra laundry, the sleeplessness which only generates further tears and irritability. You worry about them eating and not eating, being too hot or too cold, hold them until your arms ache and you have to remember how to tighten your core so your back won’t give out. You fight with your husband just because- because you are tired and wearing your fourth outfit covered in puke and just want someone to take it all away so you can just disappear for a few minutes to remember who you are.

Yet, sick days are the moments when memories are made. The days of cartoon marathons and sleeping on towels with a boy on either side, small hands gently holding you in place. One day we will look back and laugh that we literally went through every towel in the house in one night and finally found a reason to throw out that ugly throw pillow after Cameron threw up on it. Thanks Cam.

But for now I’ll savor the silence, the unfolded laundry, the sweet faces on the couch next to me, this momentary rest in which to catch my breath, and enjoy the wait for whatever happens next.

Where the road goes.

I drive until my knuckles unclench and I am able to relax my jaw
I drive until the tears come and keep driving
long after they are dry on my cheeks.
I drive past acres and acres of farmland-
barns and silos, houses, separated
fallow fields of turned earth,
swaths of yellow wildflowers,
patches of purple and white flox
freshly mowed grass lawns and stands of forest,
patchy in the distance,
birds perched on the telephone wires
and on the broken stalks of last season’s dead corn.
Brown, yellow, green.
Midwest colors.
I can imagine running towards the distant trees
laughing as I squint my eyes
against the sun hot on my shoulders,
summer dress riding up my thigh in the breeze,
feet flying, plick-plucking their way across field
side-stepping stones and cow droppings-
The freedom and breathless excitement of exploration.

On I drive.

I drive until I am sharing the road with horse and buggy
and I watch the women, in their light colored dresses and bonnets
plow their land and prune their bushes.
I drive until the signs warn me that the road will dead end.
I drive until I can forgive and then rationalize,
acknowledge that forgiveness won’t erase the stain
that the pain of action can linger a long time,
that there are unresolved things
that still need long stretches of road to heal.

I drive until I can breathe easily and reach out.
until I can use smiley face emoji’s and winky emoji’s,
until I can laugh at the absurdity of it all
almost-
I drive until I can at least LOL.
I drive until “the road ends in 500 feet”
and keep going until I find myself, anticlimactically,
in a circle of concrete overlooking an interstate.
I turn around and head back, driving into the sun.

Later, at night, I am full of love and tenderness.
I don’t know where it goes during the day.
Sometimes, I have to drive to find it.

hydrostatic equilibrium

The point of orbit

for this shining star

resides within.

The heart center

stokes the fire

kindling this tiny

everlasting flame.

I seek you,

blindly-

reaching out

squinting the depths

of this vast plane.

Your hand arrives,

steadying me

just in time,

leading me gently

back to truth

back to my self.

My reflection resides

in the depths

of cornflower blue.

How gently

grace whispers.

How gently

my sweet darlings

part their lips

in moments

of slumbered surrender

fanning the tiny flame

into a heart wrenching

blinding blaze.

The stellar center

holds true.

 

 

 

 

 

The fruiting season


In the Spring, the world is green again.
The soul stirs as tiny buds begin to open.
The trees burst forth in multi colored regalia:
split pea green,
bright cherry red,
cauliflower white.
The fruiting season has begun.

In the Spring, we walk.
Relieved to be outside,
soaking in the sunshine,
reveling in the wide open spaces,
we look for any excuse to meander
down the dandelion lined sidewalk.

I watch our shadows as we walk
stretched like the long warm days.
I study the shadow-mother, wondering:
Is she as exhausted as I feel?
Or are her worries as weightless
as her form?
Her curves are exaggerated,
the bow of her lower back deepened
counterbalanced by the bundle
now strapped to her chest.

In the Spring, everything grows and multiplies.
I study the extra shadow accompanying our walks
the extra set of limbs that expands my edges.
The delicate scent of pear blossoms
The musky molting earth
The jelly-bean colored flowers’
-raspberry, lemon, blueberry-
sweet scents fill my nostrils
and dance with wisps of blonde
belligerently blowing across my eyes.
The fruiting season has begun.

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Thanksgiving

I am Thankful.
I am thankful for this privileged life I live,
which I have not had to work particularly hard for,
thankful for all the people who have worked hard for me.

Thankful for this path I am walking.
Thankful for all the tiny treasured that I collect along the way.
Thankful for marriage and motherhood and family.
Thankful that I am surrounded by good men and strong women.
Thankful for accepting frustration in the midst of joy
and for finding the hidden joys in the mundane madness of our days.

I am thankful for my body.
Thankful for all the parts I already love
and for those I am still learning to.
I am thankful for my body’s strength and it’s softness,
Thankful that it has grown and sustained life.
Thankful that I was able to feel tiny kicks
and give the final push
to bring my squirming, slippery babies into the world.

I am thankful for my two boys.
Thankful for Casey, my curious, courageous son,
who forges his wild way through sound and action
delighting in all things new and loud and fast
dropping bits of knowledge along the way,
leaving us breathless and astounded

I am thankful for Cameron,
My tiny little snuggler
who makes his unformed voice heard-
his grunts, snorts, coo’s and squeals
reaffirming his place in our hearts
and in this world-
his precious being just beginning to shine.

I am thankful for my husband.
My quiet, hard-working husband
who loves me because of and in spite of,
has loved me during and through,
who accepts my fears and encourages me to dig deeper.
who holds me hand as we explore uncharted territory
and anchors me to a safe harbor in this mad world.

I am thankful for all I have
and all I have yet to receive.
Thankful for good friends and strong coffee,
for beauty and creativity,
for sleepless nights and nap times
chaos and quiet moments.

I am thankful for the tiny flame of faith
fanned by growth and intrigue and devout friends,
Thankful to feel the spirit move me-
in soft windy gusts upon forested hills,
the warmth of sunshine in quiet summer mornings,
colorful blooms of wildflowers opening their faces to me
and in the tiny hands and soft smiles of my babes.

Most of all I am thankful to just be alive.
To get to experience this short time of living,
on such a beautiful planet,
among such rich diversity,
to discover the vastness of the human spirit every day,
is a gift.
I am so thankful to have been given it.

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Broken Dam

I don’t know when it happened-
when the dam broke.
A trickle widened into a crack,
brick by brick the walls fell away
until one day the entire structure gave way.
Whoosh!
The contents poured forth
washing away the divide.
There was no longer any separation
nothing dividing the halves
nothing to keep one side from embracing the other.
There was no longer anything holding them back.
The topography changed in an instant,
quietly, unnoticed even, to those not paying attention.
But to the sole witness,
it happened with a roar,
a flash of light so totally blinding
it caught her off guard and she was forced
to catch her breath,
to close her eyes, to blink,
in case it wasn’t real-
In case it hadn’t really happened at all.