wednesday, july 24, 2013

(an excerpt from my pen & paper journal)

Just a moment. I just need a moment now at 11:30 to sit here, a cool breeze sending shivers through summer leaves and airing out this house that has been warm and musty for so many days.
Just a moment, while my so-big son sleeps and my husband reads or rests in the basement.
Just a moment, not worrying or anticipating or working or minding or waiting or multi-tasking.

Strands of not just silver but gold, too, are threading their way into my dark hair. No one ever mentions going gold in their old age. Maybe I’m just lucky.

The slenderest I’ve been in memory, both by numbers on the scale and by the strength in my arms, by the flat firmness of my belly. A foreign body. Changed. Is he the changeling or am I? Precious metals in hair that is so long these days, body more fierce, more lovely, falling not back in time but outside of it.

But he! Climbing up, up, onto furniture, over my body. Crawling away with a shushing of eager knees on carpet. Cackling with glee at his own speed. He has teeth now, five broken through with a sixth so close. He requires discipline – away from the dog’s bed, away from the baseboard heating, away from from power cords. Lately he’s taken to staring at me – in times of stress, when I sing to him, when he’s close to sleep. Big eyes, still an unnameable shade of blue-green-grey-hazel-brown. He is ravenous for food, play, new people. He travels better than most adults.

I spent yesterday leaving Florida feeling nauseated, weak, achy, short-tempered. A pregnancy test taken hastily last night says there’s no baby, but still I wonder. I know it could have been food, stress, hormones, a period on the way, but it could (could it?) be a baby. A baby, a baby, an April fool.

Where was I?

I haven’t written anything in ages. Though today I edited articles for six hours.

I just need a moment
And maybe a few cool days so that I can stop being trapped in our own hole of a basement or in others’ air conditioning, so that I can move about my home without that fine sheen of sweat sparkling over my son’s scalp.

What is there to say? My legs are unshaven, my body unbathed, the dishes sit in the sink, and my husband may very well be waiting for me.

I just need a moment.

Bottled Up


My husband brews beer
in our tiny kitchen.
Every month or so, the
subterranean scent of
boiling hops and malted grain
sinks into our home
and my husband beams with pride.
Brewing he does alone.

But four weeks later,
bottling is easier with
two pairs of hands, and so
tonight I laid the baby down with
a story chanted twice and
a song sung so many times
in a twilit tiredness
over the past months
that the words have lost their meanings,
reverted back to pure sound,
tones on my tongue,
and he slept,
belly down,
mostly bare in the heat,
oblivious to the popping of firecrackers outside.

My husband set everything up-
the buckets, the tubing-
while I poured for each of us a glass from
the last batch.
Mostly bare as well,
we were soon slick with
sweat and sanitizer as the
old rhythm came back to us and we
washed all of the bottles,
peeled off their old labels,
and set them to dry.

We stole quick kisses from the
napes of one another’s necks,
as the simple syrup simmered,
nights long gone when
it was just us two in
this same kitchen at the same task.
Together, we filled the dark glass bottles
and capped them tight.

After they were all labeled and stored in the
space under the basement stairs
to age,
we ate chocolate ice cream while
standing barefoot in the scrubbed clean
midnight kitchen.

The baby cried.