Choked

I walked to work

with a wet scarf

choked

taut

pulled

from both

side

dampness

in two directions

moisture

most of it rain

but

little

least of it

was tears

More of it was snot

I’m sure

That’s what parenting is

Some days

Rain

Tears

Snot

If you’re lucky

you also get

a shower

a different sort of wet

a smile

and a hug at

the end of the night

uncloaked

unchoked

dry

As It Should

It’s unnerving

The first time the nerves

Don’t fire pain and

Fire as they

Not that they should

Falling asleep myopic

But waking up and not reaching

For glasses because you find

you don’t need them

Not as it should

But is it

If it doesn’t hurt

How can you remember

If my brain fires

Synapse strikes

But I pull my hand back

Before it reaches out

Then another hand isn’t

Reaching from

The other side

Anymore

And that’s not

as lonely

Not as I should

As I am.

My new poetry collection The Gone Side of Leaving is now available.

The Gone Side of Leaving

Safety

Some parents use their kids as an excuse. Gets them out of work dinners, their own dental visits or unenthusiastic sex. The young creatures are marvelous scapegoats for these tasks. I know. I’ve done it all.

I’m afraid I’ve knit my child into my own safety net.

Didn’t chase the career I wanted?

It’s okay. I had a kid.

Tanked relationships?

It’s okay. I had a kid.

Another rejection letter for a writing piece?

It’s okay. I had a kid.

Except it’s not always okay.

My son is my life. And I don’t know if that’s always a good thing.

Some parents do incredible work with child raising as their primary focus. My mother was one of these parents. It’s still mind-boggling to me, remembering and watching to this day the sacrifice and giving she extending to caregiving.

I’m far more selfish.

Or maybe not.

There are many things about this life that aren’t enough for me. I want to swing and fly and walk the right rope. And I do it all with a net, just in case.

I don’t think that makes any more or less. Parents who strictly parent are awe-inspiring. Parents who run companies and are in love and volunteer to feed sick kittens are equally miraculous.

Me? I don’t fit in either box. I’m the one flat on her back, bouncing on a stretch of ropes and knots, still reeling from my most recent fall.

I hope there’s still time to get back up on the high wire again.

What I Didn’t

What I Didn’t

Learn to spell believer

Change to os to as for feminine

Include Ferdinand with Isabella
but that may have been intentional

That’s what I didn’t do in fifth grade today

Didn’t distinguish capability from intention
work from talent
strength from indulgence

He sees what I didn’t
make dinner
wash my hair
clean the crumbs

What’s the worse didn’t
That I didn’t

He can learn
because he watches
what I didn’t
and see his same
didn’t

And then he does
Lie in bed with a book
That others think
Is meant for another

Didn’t like I didn’t

He senses my shaking
and knows when I’m crying
even though
I like to pretend bathroom walls
are thicker than they are

Didn’t stop like I didn’t

He doesn’t want my reminders
but it’s my fault
when I don’t give them

Didn’t stand up because I didn’t

I watch him parent
what I didn’t
I try to take the blame
that he shouldn’t

I didn’t enough

I hope he knows it was my didn’t

Not his