On the Anniversary of Becoming a Mother

Who have you become
since becoming a mother,
since sharing your body,
your breasts with another soul 
so frustrating and perfect
you couldn't help but change?

You became 
an expert on linguistics
reading her cues 
knowing her needs,

An authority on jaundice
and heel pricks
and hiccups,

On not throwing yourself
off a cliff during the 
hours she screamed.

Adept at introducing new siblings, 
a master at breaking up fights.
No surprise you've become 
the Howard Dean of your home.

You're now a pundit on
the development of teeth,
the soundtrack to ZOMBIES
(and Descendants, duh).

You can speak confidently
at baby showers of 
spit up,

And you know damned well
that the time goes by
so. achingly. slow.
torturously taxing from one
runny nose to the next ear infection.

And sure the years are short.

You've mostly become 
an expert on asserting that
this shit is hard
in the hardest of ways
and it's okay, it's okay, it's okay
to feel it that way.

You're not who you were
nor who you'll become.

You're just a lady 
- a portal - 
through which
new life keeps pouring
and you've learned 
you know nothing
at all anyway.


Last Sunday

I cursed
when I almost fell
down the front steps.

I cursed
when the church bell
clanged directly overhead,
soul leaving body
as I rushed
late for pickup.

I found them waiting
in a pew
like the angels
they (sometimes) are.

I cursed quite loudly
in the valley of the shadow 
of Walmart
when the six-year-old
knocked the cart
completely off balance.

But we return,
we reset,
we begin.



We broke a platter today.
The one with a neighborhood
of colorful houses crowded upon it,
a wedding gift from Beth Ogden
who I always considered so classy.

How many times
have you been shattered
this way,
precariously placed
too near an edge,
knocked from foundation,
scattered near the sink,
little pieces of you
mingling with
wet food in the drain?

How many times
have you put back together,
rearranged, reassembled
your own little houses,
reconstructing a neighborhood
arranging new dwellings,
moved safe from the landslides,
with a comfortable cottage
built just for you?

The last time I went to Confession

The priest reminded me that
Saints don't become saints

They become saints
not necessarily because 
they're extra-special
but because they are

Like a crocus
forging on despite the fact
that the last snows have yet to fall.

Like the cardinal
singing his Heart out regardless of the fact
that we've all heard that tune before.

The back door of my van
which insists upon opening at the 
slightest joggle of the key fob
though this is not supposed to happen.

My children endlessly calling
mom mom mom mom mom
look at me look at me look at me
daring me to sit up and watch
despite the fact I've seen the matinee.

to show up
facts be damned
forcing even non-interested parties
to take note.

Choosing to believe that there is 
much worth seeing
much worth sitting up for
much to observe on the riverbank opposite apathy

despite the bone tiredness in my soul.

On Wartime

The National Guard is conducting
live fire training
five miles away,
rattling our windows,
frightening the dog,
startling my jittery
shell-shocked soul,
driving home the point.

My 11 year old
draws a grenade,
explains to me how it works,
which is easier to survive,
grenade in water or grenade on land.
She learned this on YouTube 
from some scientists
performing safety experiments.

This experimental 
this walk in the
shoes of another,
this drawing breath
while a sister sighs her last,
baby in her womb sighing, too,

This longing for peace,
it combines and shreds to shrapnel
the way things were,
stripping them back,
revealing what has been before
and before and before.

My slippered feet
are comfortable in shearling
while yours are sore from
walking, running
fighting, waiting

for the other shoe to drop.

I cannot comprehend

In the morning
I return to my poem,
am interrupted by a
clogged shower drain
and the sound of 
rehearsing helicopters