Posts Tagged ‘parent’

Between a breath and

the one that never follows,

you slip away;

crippled body left behind

like leaves dropped after a storm.

Forgotten, unnecessary –

marking the end of a season.

The monitor
picks up
my father’s breathing,
the occasional moan, a cough,
some swearing.

Dying is not easy.
It’s hard on him.
It’s hard on us.

Watch him wither
like a flower, cut;

first drooping,
now drying out –
becoming something else.

He wavers
in and out
of focus
like a star
too dim to clearly see.

Muttered halves
of conversations
held with people
invisible to me.

I wonder what he sees
when his eyes
turn blank
to this world.

He comes back,
eventually.
Asks for a cola,
maybe ice cream.

The simple pleasures
of childhood.

Then he turns,
curls back to that place
of lucid dreaming.
Eyes open,
but unfocused.

Like a brittle husk,
he’s mummifying
while I watch,
helpless
to stop the process.

I wouldn’t if I could.
He wants what he sees
when his eyes dim
to this world.

It must be something
good.

The color
of grape Kool-Aid;
purple with swirling blue.

Umbilical cord tight
around his neck,
he strangled
with every contraction.

Heart rate dropped
so perilously low,
a pediatrician was called
to be on hand…
Just-In-Case.

Pushing then swoosh
there he was,
my blue baby.

They removed
the cord from his neck,
and handed him to his father.
I stroked his face;
the same color as my nail polish.

Suction of fluid from lungs
then oxygen followed
until he grew pinker,
more human.
Still, a bloody little thing
always held by someone else.

I felt no sense of attachment.
Just crushing weight of responsibility;
knowing he was mine
completely,
at for least 18 years.

I didn’t want to get too close,
terrified by my year-old nephew’s
repeated clinical deaths.
I spent the night awake,
trying to devise ways
to make a break for it –
despite the pain.

Morning came
I was still there,
unable to figure out
how to flee into the darkness;
leave him to his father,
my mother…anyone
but me.

Then,
around the corner;
a clear acrylic bin.
I looked in –
my fatal error.
I never looked back again.

He was mine.
My child.
The one I’d waited for.
I loved his little turtle face,
strange mewling sounds,
his smell.

Through the years,
there were problems.
Bad lungs kept me afraid
that I’d lose
the only thing that mattered.

A sweet child,
beautiful, charming.
He always had that gift.

Then pre-teen,
cocky, sullen
but sometimes mine
again, at night.
I would read to him
or sing
and he would forget
that he was not a mama’s boy;
nestle into the crook of my arm.

Teenage years
spent learning how
to kill with his bare hands:
martial arts
obsessed.

Now he’s an adult.
I look back
on years
that went too fast.

All the changes
all the chances
I had to make a difference.
I messed up
most of them.

He has no need,
now, for a mother.
He wants me far away.
He’s just a cold stranger
but I love him, anyway.

If you were to ask me
what he wanted
where he lived,
or how he felt,
I could give you general answers,
gleaned from other sources.

My own son
is as alien to me
as any stranger on the street.

Looking at his baby books,
I pause at this page,
and that. Remember favorite pastimes.
They’re all past time, now.

All I have is memory
of the son I brought to earth.
Cherished as well as I was able
then let go, at his request.

People say
he loves me.
But I know it isn’t true.
He wants me to disappear
as much as I want to.

Embarrassed
by me; my scars,
my insanity;
by that fact that I exist

I am embarrassed too,
for loving him as much as I do
when I’m simply a source
of shame for him,
my former Little Boy Blue.

25 years ago,
my sister gave birth
through her skin;
her 3rd cesarean.

I captured the moment
with a failed flash;
emerging head illuminated
by surgical lights
otherworldly glow –
The door to Heaven,
briefly opened.

I held him first, cradled
his small, still bloody body
mere seconds before
reluctantly releasing him
to his father.

We walked to the nursery
together while they sutured
the gaping wound
through which he arrived.

Last year, I repeated the act of
returning him to his Father.

More painful this time,
because I know
he won’t be coming back.

I am practicing heartache,
learning to let go gracefully,
without tears or whimpers.

Each time I let go,
I am learning the way
to loosen my grip on what
was never really mine.

To say,
not goodbye,
but later.

The things I have
I hold closer.
They too
will leave me someday.

I am learning
how to hold on.

I am learning
how to let go.

4-1-11

Unwed Mother

Posted: November 24, 2010 in My Poetry
Tags: , , , , , ,

I am here,
some nasty secret:
a mistake
you can’t ignore.

I am here
pulsing
in the hot red
of your shame.

You hide me
like a mousetrap,
cheese gone
and sprung.

In dark cellars
I am waiting.
Hidden, throbbing
black-blood:

three hearts thick
and folded.

I didn’t notice
the sky,
like I usually do.

Too many other
things – Sensory
overload.

Police cars
parked haphazardly
lights still on, stained
the snow with color
like some bizarre
Christmas display.

If there was
an emergency,
it was far too late
for you.

Echoing static silence,
so loud it hurt my ears –
The sound of
a bottomless pit
called grief;
a tiny word
for such devouring
emotion.

I knew,
as soon as I opened the door
on that bursting scream
of silence,
that no heroics
would bring you back.

Reduced
to one, tight,
blue-lipped syllable:
“Dead”.

Icy wind & crusted snow,
were witness
to your tears.

Pale stars coldly
oversaw your last
movements;
making sure
you tied the noose
with militant precision.

You stepped off
the antique church bench,
painted cheerful red
and printed so appropriately:
“The best journeys always
lead us home.”

And you went home
to meet your Father,
tears still on your cheeks;
blue eyes open to your future –
dressed in your best clothes.

You are a True Believer.
There was no doubt
in your mind
that you were going home.

Away from the burdens
of this world.
Into the arms
of a loving Father
who understands all
and forgives it –

a brother
who loves you enough
to die, already, for your sins.
We lost you
but gained an angel.

Missing you is like a knife,
cutting deeper every day.

It never goes away.

Audio Reading

Fireworks . Pictures, Images and Photos

Brilliant flash;
a purple nebula,
quickly blurs to white,

traced on the sky
like a spider’s web.

Color races over wet ground,
receding just as quickly,
bright lights fade away.
Ebb and flow of a neon wave,
exploding at our feet.

There is peace, despite the booms,
despite the smell of smoke.
Perhaps derived from memories:
childish delight in bright colors,
new smells, cool grass.

Explosions rocket across the sky
spiraling up in plumes of smoke.
I sit barefoot on the cement stairs,
arm around my son.

He deserves this memory:
A sky colored with lights like a present
and a warm arm around his waist.

(1998)

 

In the white bellow
I see him
wrapped tight around our son,
swaying to the dance
of dark raindrops.
Lightning gouges;
ice-pick sharp
and night
sucks into the wound.

After spilling gutters clear
and beaten trees drop leaves
he climbs in beside me, his cold
bristles against my legs;
the baby, a warm comma between us.
The only wind now
is the sound of our breathing
and I sink, like a stone, into sleep.

We ride into dawn
in a rented dinghy:
Faded orange life-vests
over layered flannel shirts.

As dawn warms into morning,
we shed our clothes like skins,
until we sit in swimsuits,
life-vests left tangled in cast off clothing.

Still as a wooden figurehead,
you curl over the prow,
wearing sunlight on your back;
fishing pole slack in your hands,
lure under the lake
like spinning sunken treasure.

At the rear of the boat
the boys watch the trout
towed behind us
like demented pull-toys.
The fish gasp and flip,
fighting the metal hooked into their gills.

One fish has deep scars
like stripes on a tiger;
evidence of some battle –
just to end up gutted,
spilling roe
like pearls,
as dark blood stains my shoes.

You lay blame on my doorstep,
when I’m sleeping,
like unwanted offspring.
It cries most piteously, but it’s
not mine to own and I turn my back;
ignore it like the fucking bitch you say I am.
It can die out there in the cold
as easily as in the coldness of my arms.

My heart, an icicle, stabs me from inside
and I turn inside out to stab you with
that icy splinter, whenever I feel the need.

The infants of blame are not my concern.
They should not exist in this world.
Monstrosities, they are bastard abortions
that never should have been.
Multi-armed and dangerous, they have eyes
in the back of their head…born whispering of sin
they won’t stop until they’ve said it all
and they’ve seen you take the fall.

Pretended innocence…
baby-face fooled me once.
He won’t do that again.