Year’s End

Piecemeal,

we stitch together

the cover we need in dark times –

lover’s warm embrace,

a child who needs feeding,

a bit of work that reminds us

of fires, and music, and the river flowing.

 

Some years,

the wind blows through.

The rains seep into the cloth.

We are drenched in the sweat

of pain, of rage, and the fever dreams.

The simple cover feels too thin,

ends frayed, stitches fallen.

No warmth or light

surrounds us.

 

Mind these moments of despair.

Make plans. Be bold. Believe.

Find what you need,

who you need.

Build it

now.

 

Dark Daughter Questions

When you die

will you be burned?

(Ummm.)

or buried?

(Uhhh.)

or rise up to the gods?

(What do you think?)

Will I be able to hug you?

(Yes. )

Do you know

what it means

to leave people behind?

(I do. I do.)

When Bube died 

did she go up with the gods?

(I like to think she’s up there looking after you.)

Sometimes,

when I am in time out

I talk to her.

(What does she say?)

She says,

“Your mother and father

are the ones

who chose to put you in time out.”

(Thanks alot, Grandma. Thanks alot.)

Free Love

Free love.

 

Free it from

the prison our hearts build.

Free it from

the laws and the  lawmakers

Free it from

the priests and the pulpits.

Free it from

the teen angst.

 

Free it from

the normalcy police

and our nightmare beliefs

and the powerful chiefs

who would see it die.

 

Free love.

Free. Love.

Free.

Time. Travel. Toddlers.

A sultry summer Sunday, seven am, an hour past waking, Prince two-and-a-half, and Princess almost-five have had their first breakfast, and are ready, more than ready, to start the day here in sunny Philadelphia.

 “Are they ready yet?” says A. “I will check now.” I say.  

 I reach out across time and seasons to a nippy, drippy, winter’s nine pm, Sydney, Australia all the way to the apartment where my sister and her husband have made a new life. Their faces appear, somewhat sleepy in the late evening darkness, but suddenly lift, when they see A and E chittering like monkeys in front of them from 9869 miles across the world. 

And then the magic really begins.

In Star Trek, this was the future.Video phones connecting across the final frontier.  But Gene Roddenberry could only imagine what this was like with an adult’s practical eye.  In the hands of two toddlers, the static, piped-in, moving picture of beloved aunt and uncle becomes a kid’s most coveted and elusive wonder: a captive adult audience. 

They compare stinky feet,  praise pee in the potty,  follow my daughter into her bedroom where they take turns making gross faces and throwing up.  My sister opens her mouth wide and closes in on the camera, so close I can see the uvula, and my son runs screaming in fear and delight, “Don’t EAT me!!  Don’t Eat me!!” 

My brother-in-law disappears from the screen and in his place we see a ghostly blanket-covered ghoul attacking my hapless sister. “Help! Spiderman! Help.”  The two year old Spider man, naked from the waste down shoots webs from his wrists at the fiend, and the young warrior Princess strings her bow ready with the assist behind.  

They both leap up and down in victory, the screen showing bare butts and legs bouncing on the bed.  

Across the airwaves the children, my sister, and my brother-in-law play together, no distance between them. The rules of time, space, and sensible- computer-use are nothing but constructs of the adult world, quickly giggled away.  

These are the voyages of starship toddler, to boldly go where no one over 20 has gone before… 

 

  

I dreamed him

I stand in the opening

of my daughter’s 

pale yellow bedroom

looking over her bed.

 

I dreamed him

lying on his side

like he would so often

In the New Delhi winter.

 

Morning fog dampening

his thin bones,

his paper bag skin.

His maroon knit cap

keeping the warmth 

from escaping his bald skull.

 

His thick specs hide his warm eyes.

He sleeps like a babe in utero

just next to my daughter’s curls.

They are at peace and safe. 

My four year old

girl, living, and

my 89 year old

grandfather, passed.

I dreamed him.

So fat

Fat. So fat. So fat.

Why is that?

Why is that.

Why is that…

what matters?

What matters?

What matters is this.

Living, loving, being

feeling, showing,  sharing

body holding, working, yielding.

 

All that I am is because

I have this body.

Fat padded. Flat footed,

breasts sagging, butt softened…

but softening the falls,

arms catching hold

of every sweet nectar drop

every fat drop of life

I can lick.