At the darkest turn of the year,
choose lightness. Choose to believe in
their capable hands, each steering
the ship of their own life—
sometimes, far off across the sea
sometimes, near enough to signal
sometimes, pausing at your side
where you can watch together
the moon, the whales
and schools of tiny, iridescent fish
darting beneath your hulls,
close enough for you and the one on the other ship
to marvel together —
How the neon fish catch the moonlight
and pull it deep into the sea
far below the waves, into the quiet
where we have never been before.
Category Archives: Parents & Children
At the darkest turn of the year,
Yes, oh yes,
I want to do enormous favors for you,
the kind involving cash, and inconvenience,
and driving long hours, all over the state,
preferably in the rainy dark, on deer-crowded
back roads, in complicated maneuvers
involving your car, your sister’s car,
a mechanic whose garage we can’t find
in the dark, and some guy named Lloyd
who we don’t even know,
but this day wasn’t a big enough mess
so we threw him in,
because you know for certain that
when everyone else says No,
You can ask for help from one person who
may well grumble or write a poem about it,
but will eventually pick up the keys and say
Silver glitter and cardboard
tacked to the window frame
suspended from a pale green ribbon
this one star is for the two of you.
For you, I place it forever
in the window, a light
so small you can ignore it
for a long time
but always shining, always,
so you can find it in the dark
and see the path home.
When you were small,
we came here so little
you thought Santa lived
at the mall all year.
Now, taller than me,
an errand for a friend
brings us to this alien territory
where people look like us
except with better hair
and many shopping bags,
tissue paper wrapped
around their treasures.
I’m glad I hate it here.
And glad you hate it too—
glad you carry all your treasures
unwrapped and close to your heart,
spilling from your musical hands,
and your easy smile.
When it is your turn to be old,
leave a message–
and not the irritated kind of message
Where On Earth Could You Be????
Treat each message like a balloon
released into the air,
a general update:
Life Is Fine Here.
Better yet, learn to text.
Let your texts be Quirky.
Be quite clear in your own mind
that this will make no difference
to the children,
who will continue to ignore you
until they need cash or advice.
But having told them all they could handle,
and having made yourself laugh
you will feel better
in that quiet moment
when you put down the phone
and turn to look out the window.
Afterward, the whole day will color itself
into brighter, more satisfied lines.
Yesterday, a tall man
who looked just like my son
showed up unannounced
and mowed the shaggy lawn.
Under normal circumstances,
A Mowing Stranger
would have been Alarming.
But then he kicked off his big shoes
by the front door,
where I tripped on them
while he ate the last of the cake,
and all the leftover chicken,
leaving only the vegetables,
and a pile of dirty dishes in the sink.
Oh, it’s you! I said.
My first masterpiece,
Girl I painted onto
the canvas of this world.
She took the brush
from my hand long ago
and paints her own picture now.
With bold strokes, she fashioned wry smile,
tender curls and curves.
Humming Broadway show tunes,
she deepens the layers around
her guarded heart,
glimpsed through surfaces
while her artistic confidence grows,
while she learns to trust this beauty,
this unfolding art of her life,
her own masterpiece.