The beauty of being done with the dissertation and jobless is that for now I can get up and write whatever I want. Untethered, I gravitate toward poetry. I’ll share my latest.
A writing teacher of mine once wisely said that if you have to explain a poem, it’s probably not a good one. I agree, but I’m making no promises, and this is a blog not an anthology (which generally has a lot of annotation too) so I’ll just tell you it’s about one of Junie’s everyday adventures.
I’m sure other parents can empathize with my impulse to control the world around her so that it’s safe and secure. All the while, she seems to seek out the most precarious scenarios. Watching her in wonder, I both treasure her curiosity and fear its unexpected consequences. I spend many of my days marveling at her tenacity and trying to decide when to move her before it may be too late and when its ok to let her fall. As a parent I struggle to surrender her to the rest of the world, even though I see how often it nurtures her inquisitive spirit in ways I cannot fully fathom myself. When I look closely I can see that she is being cared for by an entire universe, and I am only a small part of it.
I’ve planted pears and primrose.
The plumbago blooms like
frost along the masoned front
porch. Pots full of aromatic basil,
lemon, rosemary, and catmint line
the back patio. But my daughter
walks me passed them all
to the wild grass and thistle
in our adjacent lot.
I scour for poison ivy where she
plunks down to wave at the colors
she sees, purple and peach, and
to greet a lady bug that sleeps on
a blade dipping up and down
in the breeze. Dimpled fists grasp
at swollen seedpods, please
don’t take a bite!, and short legs
stomp through grasses that
make the backs of my knees burn.
I point out butterflies – flit, flit -
She points out bees – go, bee, go -
then laughs at the yellow flower
face that grins back, while I look
up at clouds and see rain that will
sweep in. At night I’ll rock her to sleep
with a song about the thunder. How it
tells its little raincloud goodnight – crash,
blast, boom. Her eyelids close
in silence, and she drifts off in
a storm that whispers her its music.