Time

image from istock

Time broke,
And you were there,
Black and white upon a screen,
Seeming to tumble
In time to the thump, thump
From a machine.

Time split in half,
And you were there,
Barely a teen,
Trying on a mountain of jeweled dresses
Frowning and sighing.
Finally smiling
After reluctantly putting on a dress
I asked, “Just try it, please?”

Time shattered,
And there you were,
Clattering down the hall,
Your tiny toddler feet
In my size nine heels.

Time wrecked,
And there you were,
An adolescent sleeping,
Lips parted,
A fist clutching a beloved stuffed bunny,
So grown, yet so tiny still.

Time crumbled,
And you were there
In your toddler car seat,
Sobbing, fat toddler tears
For we had no food
To give the homeless man on the corner.
So, we drove through McDonald’s and bought a meal for him.
Your tears stopped. You smiled as I handed him the meal.
But the incongruity of your toddler voice admonished,
“Next Sunday, after church, we need to buy a healthy meal
And bring it to him. McDonald’s isn’t healthy to eat all the time.”

Time exploded,
And there you were,
Sitting in a swing, hands reaching for the sky;
Crying in my arms, heart breaking for the first time;
Laughing on Saturday morning, maple syrup running down your chin;
Praying the Lord’s prayer in church, brow furrowed in toddler earnestness.


Time coalesced,
Healing its broken,
Shattered,
Split,
Wrecked,
Crumbled,
Exploded
Self.

Time mended,
Leaving us broken
In its wake
To find ourselves—
Mother, aged
And daughter, grown
To know each other
Again.

Laughter and Dust

Laughter departed,
Or died a slow death.
We weren’t sure which.

You asked why we didn’t dance
When we dusted anymore,
As we did when I taught you to do
The washing machine.

But we were told it was “nasty”
And I “ought not” teach you that.
Plus, we played “that
Jungle and Mexican music too loud.”
So, our hips and feet stilled.

Then you dusted no more,
And I couldn’t blame you.
Fun stopped breathing.
No paramedics needed.
We survived.
Forgetting the joy
of everyday.

The Prodigal

Motherhood erased
The caesarean scar, the only trace,
A testament to what once was,
It holds a degree of lingering numbness
After these twenty years:
Nerves that cannot reconnect
To a self without motherhood.
Yes, a touch of numbness
As the child with her mother’s face
Turns away, rejecting the truth teller,
Rejecting the baptism of love, of name, of tears.

Let the child walk away.
Perhaps in losing her way,
She will find the path back,
A way to recognize being found
In the reflection of her own face.

Golden Sky

My lost child
Time runs away from us.
Wandering in darkness,
Stumbling over hidden things,
We cannot find our way.

So it will be
That we stand,
Grieving each other
In this darkness.

Sunshine and hope
Filled us
When I pushed your
Swing in the park.
Laughing we touched
A golden sky.

Then, I thought we’d
Never know this darkness.
But it crept around the edges,
Blotting out the golden sky,
Fading to a distant memory
Until you, my child, doubt it ever real.

Orchestra of Children

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An orchestra of children
Provides a symphony.

The violin of a two-year-old
Sings the plaintive cries,
“Daddy, Daddy!”

The lone flute of a three-year-old
Soars above the din,
A painful wail,
“Mommy, Mommy.”

Then the scratchy oboe
Of perhaps a four-year-old,
Keening for an aunt to be allowed to come
And take him to her home to stay.

Next all the whimpers,
Sobbing, moans
Squalls, and laments
Of trumpets, tubas,
Violas, bass and all the rest
Join the cacophonous clamor
Of such a discordant melody,
Harmonious to the hardened of heart
Who give ear to this orchestra,
Deserving of nothing but the pain
Contained within the symphony
The progeny play,
As less than they.

Our Children

Innocence, a fairytale idea,
Sacrificed along with safety
Burned as sweet, bloody incense
On an altar to the Second
Unrestrained, unrestricted
The true worship contained
In this strange amalgam of green and gold,
Gunpowder, lead, and power
Causing some confusion
In steel tongues touting
The sanctity of life
And rights to any guns
in prayers.

Our children born in a skin of fear
Do what we have not
Stand up
And say no more.

The Other Day

mother child

While watching a mother and her child at play
Wrapped in the delight of each other
She gives her boy a gentle toss
His tiny arms wide, wing-like
As if in flight
She’s a safety net
As he lands lightly in her hands
They laugh
Their eyes lock, sparkling
Wrapped in the miracle of each other
His arms wind about her neck
His glistening golden head rests upon her shoulder

And this hole, this longing inside remembers
The rapture between a mother and child