painting: march 31, 2013


Paint it today.
You can’t paint tomorrow as you did today,
said Hilda Dolittle.

It’s somewhat maddening to watch so carefully such incremental change.
Today his breath is a bit less sweet than it was yesterday,
because he had a few more bites of non-mother-milk – yogurt and hummus.
Today he is a touch more solid, more steady, stronger, more balanced.
Today he weighs a fraction of an ounce more. Today he is a fraction of a centimeter longer.
And every day I say these things.

In his face I see the face I saw one, two, four months ago
until I look at the photos
(“take lots of photos” I do)
And see the creamy baby cheeks slowly sanded away to reveal
The Boy Face.
(And then I see what I’ll paint the day after the day after tomorrow-
the eight year old playing catch with his father,
the fifteen year old sprawled out on the couch)

Paint it today.
Paint it today, a love of nine months and then
six more.
But earlier than that, the love leaked and lost when no baby came
for months and months.
And before that, the boys I loved and wondered
‘A baby? Yes. With him? No. Then… what?’
And paint tomorrow the next baby (a second?) and the next (a third?)
A palimpsest of love,
toddler love scribbled over infant love,
child love brushed over baby love,
layer upon layer of newfound love.

Today. Paint it today.
Sitting in the grass watching mama and dad thrust hands into mulch and soil.
Riding on dad’s back, strapped to mama’s front, as we walk by the sea.
Fussing, teething, still, always.
Sleeping on mama’s chest because
it is home.

a list: honestly

-thrush is no fun, and i haven’t ever taken it seriously.
-a plugged duct (probably due to thrush) is scary
-a milk blister (due to the plugged duct that was probably due to thrush) is painful. for days now. (yes, i am treating it).
-i haven’t been writing much at all, but that feels okay. i’ll get there.
-thomas continues to teethe. nothing has broken through yet, but every day he gets a little fussier with it. more determined. more vocal.
-he’s getting bigger, and i’m getting stronger. arms that carry, back that lifts, legs that squat down to pick things up while carrying 15 pounds of child.
-i’m still losing hair like mad, and it’s really bugging me.
-i still don’t weigh what i want to weigh. i still don’t look how i want to look. but i can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
-postpartum sex is turning out to be awesome… when we can actually find the opportunity to do it.
-i’m tired of waking up to a weather report of something like “currently 23 degrees. feels like 12.” ready for spring.
-it’s taking a lot of willpower not to finish off the 1/4 loaf of irish soda bread left from yesterday.
-sometimes thomas makes noises like a tiny dinosaur, and it’s completely earth-shatteringly adorable.

freewrite: time

count them up: not enough hours in the day. not enough for an impossible to do list of practicality and creativity. but there are enough. ca suffit.

enough for kisses and snuggles and helping to support him when he wants to stand. enough for fuss fuss fussing and comforts when i’m not there to support him and he tumbles from his seated position or bangs a toy on sensitive gums or simply wakes frightened. there are enough hours to read a little to him, to read a little to me. to finish the laundry and cook dinner. there is enough time for cups of tea. there is time to sit and listen as my husband plays banjo. there are always spare moments for yoga stretching, if only i can remember to look for them. and somehow time seems to stretch when i set out on a ten-minute walk with dog on her leash and baby in his wrap and find myself wandering the neighborhood for most of an hour, enjoying the warmth and light of almost-spring.

there are not enough hours to knit something new every week and work on my nephew-to-be’s quilt and finish a novel at the drop of a hat and keep the house absolutely spotless and read everything. but that’s okay. compassion, compassion. the word that keeps coming back. time waits for no man, but a woman can find her own way.



late one night, breastfeeding my very tiny baby, a line about his eyes ran through my brain. i hastily emailed it to myself.

i crafted a poem around it, a poem about a changeling child, about an ancient druid reborn.
i lost my copy of the scribbled poem.

i rewrote it. it’s not as well done, and i still spent twenty minutes searching through papers before i found it.

i believe i’ve birthed a trickster.

here’s a snippet:

An old soul stares at me
through onyx eyes
the blue grey black of slate, of bedrock.
Seeking meteors, signs from heaven,
you throw those stones skyward,
let them fall where they may,
and only you,
the child of a restless bard and an even-tempered wood sprite,
can read their silent stories.

You came to us days before a harvest moon;
does the smoke from our woodstove
spark memories of autumns past?

Are you the same son you were yesterday?
The sea is a constant thing
though each moon, each wind-riding grain of sand
newly molds the waves.

I recognize your legs as they stretch forth,
remembering those same limbs
pressed upon their cage, my own ribs the ivory bars,
but little else is recognizable.

Magic it must be.
What rites have called forth your all-too-solid body?
Were those the dances you danced within my womb,
turning and twisting in the dark waters?
What incantations turn the pure milk that drips from my breast
into your bones and fists and strong thighs?
Is that what you’re chanting when you speak incomprehensibly, insistently,
and fling out your open palms to catch the air?
Your smile is a charm that makes me forget,
your cry a spell that floods my mind with the need to take care.

I prayed to the goddess of the earth, the god of the sea
for a babe of my own.
Are you he?