he is round and smooth, the same color as the chickpeas he devours with nimble toddler fingers. he is quick – quick to move, quick to change, smiles bubbling out of fussing, tears slipping from the shock of a fall. suddenly solid, heavy, a force to be reckoned with – my arms cannot as easily swing him overhead and keep him up up up over and over. he slaps his hands onto wood, metal, plastic, and bangs toys against one another to discover what tone they’ll create. he thrusts insistent fingers with sharp nails into my mouth, grabs onto my nose, pinches the delicate skin of my inner arm. his two small teeth wreak havoc on my nipples. when brought to a stand, he sometimes needs only a hand on one of my fingers to maintain his balance. he reaches out, wanting to touch and taste everything – tea bags, book pages, wine glasses, laptops. he slides his body backward over our wooden floors, crossing entire rooms before i notice he is gone, and then he cries because he was once inches away from the thing he wants and now somehow the distance is better measured in yards. that’s life, kid.
In the beginning-
no, we missed the beginning.
We had ridden so far, over state lines, and
stopped at a diner for sandwiches.
While my husband dawdled over blueberry pie, I knelt in the
ladies restroom and milked my full mothering breasts.
We missed the beginning.
We had driven to the end of the road, curving around a
lush, green swamp, down a dirt road, until we found ourselves in line
with all of the others who were
Finally, so far from home and from
the baby, we parked and walked to the
amphitheatre, sounds of banjo, guitar, and voices growing
louder, more clear.
The band before the band, but
one we liked, and the crowd
different. Not like its southern counterpart we knew.
Too reserved, too clean, too hard, too tight.
Made cold and brittle by New England
ice. They smelled of clove cigarettes and beer.
We missed the beginning and didn’t quite feel
we belonged. Because we aren’t from around
here. Because we had left the baby to come. Because
his flannel shirt was nearly as old as me. And
I wore the skirt that never really works here in
town, associates me with ‘those cult people,’ but really
twirls and hangs so soft on my thighs.
Between sets we spread our small quilt on dewy ground and
sat, waiting, watching. Evening crept so slowly over the
June horizon, the wind cool, and
with no customers’ coffee to keep it from,
no toddler fingers to grab at it, I
let down my hair.
We missed the beginning, but we were there when the lights went
low and the stage was readied and the band appeared.
Sloughing off the worries that came of a mortgage and mothering,
I sang along. I whooped. I hollered.
And though my skirt, my hair, my breasts
hung heavy and insistent, it only made it that much
more marvelous when I did rise up and remember the girl who
discovered these songs just before she discovered the man
who had brought her to see them as
her boyfriend, her betrothed, her husband, and now the father of
We missed the beginning and worried about rain and
we weren’t like the rest of them.
But the rain never fell, and
we didn’t need the rest of them.
Were I a food blogger, I would have posted this morning that I am completely uninspired. All week Thomas has been fussy for most of the afternoon, and last night was more like a series of catnaps, with a big awake time from 3:40 to 5:10, than “a good night’s sleep.” Which means dinners have been hastily thrown together, and breakfasts and lunches not even worth mentioning, really. I browse recipes. I stare into the abyss of my refrigerator. And then Thomas and I eat the same things over and over (banana with peanut butter, yogurt, oatmeal, nuts, dried dates…).
Were I food blogger, I would then tell you how I found myself starving today. After nursing most of the night and said banana + pb then oatmeal with yogurt for breakfast, noon found me ravenous. So I took a half a sandwich bag of cooked pintos out of the freezer and dumped them in a pot with a little water. A few (well, five) cloves of garlic, plus some powdered. Chili powder. Salt and pepper. Not even a teaspoon of mustard, just because it sounded like a good idea.
Then, while the beans defrosted and heated, Thomas and I sat in the bath and dumped water on each other.
Let me tell you, coming downstairs to the garlic smell and diving into the bowl of beans was amazing. Thomas seems to think so, too, as he keeps grabbing for my bowl (don’t worry – he’s being given his fair share).
Maybe I wasn’t (am not) uninspired because nothing is interesting enough. Maybe I’m just not looking at the right things. Because I think I’m making another batch of these beans for dinner.
Does this mean the past week has been any less rough? Does it mean I feel like less of a loony when my husband comes home to find me drained and short-tempered? Does it mean that next week will definitely be better? Nope. But I have these beans now.
Were I a food blogger, I probably would have taken a picture.
Eight moons come and faded away since
his body, squidlike, slipped from mine
in a rush of fluid and force.
Six weeks blood leaked
marking me as one still
unclean, weakened, healing.
A season of breasts so full that
milk dripped from them by the hour, into
bedsheets and breaspads.
Eight moons and still shrinking.
A padding of curves my body has always known
leaving unfamiliar muscles and tendons,
patience wearing away,
heart cut to the quick.
The softness recedes in lieu of hard strength.
Is this motherhood?