Monday, January 19, 2009

Rappeling, With Children

You were calling out to me all day today
Down there, all mushy on your bed,
you invited me to join you.
A school holiday, eight or so long hours, with my creations.
I was ready with structure--
square meals, nap, fresh air, and video
--so it's not like I was unprepared.
Yet still
there were moments where they tag-teamed me,
an odd little pair of stalkers:
"Mommy, mommy,"
pecked to death by ducks,
Before I can answer one, the other comes up
If make the taco, it should have been the hard-boiled egg,
I say, "use your strong voice" when I hear
Just how betraying each failure feels,
I say, "I will, as soon as I finish this,"
I say, "I need you to listen to my words"
who knows how many times?
And on a day--like today--when I'm not on top of my game,
When my composure is cracked and certain
adult critical voices can and do intrude,
when they are no longer cute,
when all of that need wants only to gobble me up,
when I have grown shadowy and thin,
and yearn for invisibility.
And there, there, is where I find you.
You, supine and resigned, call to me with your creepy smile,
a part of me, I think they're called mirror neurons?
Rappels down
While the rest of me stays.
I begin to believe that I could or should
be doing all of this perfectly, and am not
Yet I perform the most amazing feat anyway:
I am present, responsive, full of spine.
"Be like an oak tree," a friend says,
I remember this and do my best to seem oaky
whatever that means,
I muster a smile, a nod, a comment
that at least sounds like I'm hanging on every word
knowing that
If I can suspend this lie, over time,
for my two self-absorbed yet ever-watchful nubbins,
you, your memories and worldview
unspoken, unexplored, sporadically spooging their way out
you, who feels so small and incapable
who took all the wrong things for yourself
and gave the remainder too freely
will stay down there
and perhaps die a lonely death
while we go outside to play.

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