when they took you
if they noticed your smell,
that comforting mix of cool metal, warm leather,
and the more elusive qualities of age.
did they have trouble with the downshift
into first, like i always did,
or note the gentle “put-put” scales
of your acceleration?
could they feel the familiar slump
to your driver’s seat,
the way the back grooved just so,
a perfect echo of another’s body?
was that intimacy enough to make even
their heart blush?
was there more than one of them?
and, if so,
did the second one feel
the satisfying heft of your door clanking shut?
were my toeprints still there,
on the dash, and the windshield,
gauzing their view of the getaway route?
did they attempt to unroll
your fickle passenger side window,
finding, finally, that
jingle-jangle rhythm of release?
did they slide, intuitively, into that place
you always held,
elbow slung out the window,
neck nestled against your seat,
hair tousled (illicitly) by the passing breeze?
and did they smile, in spite of themselves
and the cold sting of their departure?
i wouldn’t blame them.
life always felt better from that spot.
were their silhouettes
the same as ours, framed
by the gentle arc of your rear window,
and the ruby glow of your tail lights?
or did they read,
through the noir haze of late night,
like the fugitives they were?
did they feel the way the world looked at you
how you were a gateway
to so many unplanned conversations,
so many unorchestrated connections?
when they looked at you
if they saw only the price tags dangling
from your disembodied parts.
or did they also understand
the shared history they were dismantling,
the planned future they were tearing apart?
did they know
that just two blocks away
slept a man, a woman,
and one little boy,
who would miss you everyday
like a lost piece of their own hearts?
december 28, 2016
a hundred bombs a day —
a thousand —
with the very core
of your being,
into the very synapses
of your soul
but then later,
the folding up small
into one another
inhabiting the same space
returning to the same
like sneaking past
the monster’s den
on the tippy toes
of your breath,
waiting for the tremble
in the earth
bracing for the roar
but then after,
the storm past,
light spilling from your smile
from your eyes
melting the memory
of colder hours.
like trying to
tame the lion
knowing that it can’t help the truth
of it’s own wildness,
that it will bite the hand
that feeds it
but then at night,
your voice in the darkness,
calling out for me.
that’s what i’ll tell you
when you ask
what it was like
when you were two.
december 13, 2016
(as a mother)
when you realize what you have to do
let go of
doesn’t make it
to watch you grow up.
may 19, 2016
yesterday i looked up
i looked up and saw
that you were no longer my baby
i looked up and saw
that you had become my son
a year has passed,
since you came to be
since we began the slow journey
toward knowing one another
life has come back to reclaim me
a jealous sibling
constantly competing for my time
it builds a wall between me
and the immediateness of our early days
with brick after brick of have-to’s
and i find myself asking:
what were you like back then?
were you really ever so small?
all i have left is a string of vignettes
soft-spun memories of our beginnings
of your tiniest self
and fragile to the touch:
the sparrow’s ribs beneath the surface of your torso;
the kiss-kiss purse of your tiny mouth;
the downy pillow of your cheeks;
the push and pull of your parenthetical little feet;
the gentle puff of your breath against my neck;
the soft lisp of your first whispers;
your toothless grin;
your wonder-filled eyes;
the feel of your dimpled fist against my chest;
the weight of your head in the hollow of my arm;
the unruly wisps of your gossamer hair,
standing up like a feather in your cap.
precious (few) details,
let me wear them around the neck of my soul
gather them in the palm of my heart
tattoo them to my mind’s eye
so that I may never forget
the magic of the days
when I was steeped in you.
july 6, 2015
hush now, my love
no need to fuss
and wail as though the end is near
i’ll hold you close
and with my kisses
protect you from what it is you fear
and if all that love
just isn’t enough
to soothe your tender little heart
then come with me
take my advice
the record player’s where i’d start
let’s put us on some Etta
some Otis Redding too
we’ll play some Little Walter
find that Muddy Waters groove
then dance around the room
and fill our souls up with their tune
let their words soak through our skin
and put us in a lighter mood
cuz life can feel real heavy
when you let it in, it’s true
make a tangle of your insides
until you don’t know what to do
but if mama learns you anything
before this life is through
it’s that there ain’t no ill
that can’t be cured by the blues
december 31, 2014
i’ve come to love the afternoon with you
that softly rounded peak of our budding daily rhythm
it emerges each day from the dull haze of morning
and floats aloft the often jagged edges of the evening hours
suspended time, it seems
defined by the slow shift of sunlight and shadow
against the living room curtains
a safe space for magical moments
and unexpected gifts
like those few precious hours just days ago
when you, my little jumping bean,
my little guppie always in motion,
and, nestling your head against my shoulder,
decided inexplicably —
your tiny body slumped against mine
and giving everything
a fleeting eternity of utter surrender and perfect bliss
and i thought:
this is the stuff of true wonder
this, right here, is what will carry you through
july 8, 2014