Tread carefully as you approach
War (historically re-enacted, not current & stupid...) makes my son happy. Half-naked Indians make me happy. One would imagine that our recent trip to Fort Ticonderoga to see the Revolutionary War re-enactment would have been a win-win situation, no?
Well, no. I sat down to write tonight, to fulfill my promise to Polkadot Witch and post my response to our most recent writers' meeting, and in came my sweet Jude--in tears. It was 9:07 and he couldn't sleep. He was in tears for the second time since 1st grade started. And it's only been two days of school so far. This does not bode well. I am, all kidding and writerly smart-ass aside, seriously worried. My heart is breaking for him. Breaks when he gets on the bus. Breaks at 9:10 when I imagine him settling in at his desk, one of four formica-topped mini desks, grouped into a girl, girl, girl, boy square. Breaks at lunch time, recess, all the way home.
Dropping pieces of my broken mommy-heart from my desk to his bed, I followed him, still crying, to his room, tucked him in, and lay down beside him. He talked about the time, how he didn't know an hour could go so fast. He talked about whether or not it was ok for great-grandma Jennie to be dead (she died ten years before he was born).
He surmised that maybe he didn't do enough today, and that was why he couldn't sleep. He observed that his mechanical volcano/nightlight seemed slower than usual. He noted that the cat was in the middle of his bed and was probably worried about him. He told me he loved me. He tossed. He turned. And mercifully, finally, he fell asleep.
Never has the rhythmic breathing of a child felt so comforting. Not because I was eager to write, but because I was eager for his day to be over, for sleep to relieve his anxiety.
This poem, written from a prompt using the four words: hammock, moon, ladybug & leaf, didn't seem to have much point when I wrote it, but re-reading it tonight, it somehow echoes what I imagine my son is feeling. Maybe it is melancholy.
Hammock, moon, ladybug, leaf.
My body touches each and I am alone.
Tread carefully as you approach,
the ladybug is not secured, is poised for flight.
Always in danger of being crushed by a leaf.
So light, they are weightless.
So heavy the flame,
so heavy the smoke.
So suffocating the leaf
used to smother the fire.
Tread softly as you approach.
The moon of my backside will not rise
from the hammock today, will not rise tonight.
I may never leave
this holey suspension,
bound to earth by the feet of two trees,
held aloft by the pull of the moon.
Two times I have asked, twice
my voice has risen,
round and clear
like the yellow moon that is not blue.
Tread carefully as you approach
and now I see,
now I feel,
now I hear,
you have crossed the lawn like a mower grown wild,
a beast of a machine with keys stuck in the ignition.
You have mown
I am lying on the sheared ground,
my body touching nothing (everything)
and I am alone.
After I wrote this piece, I took a moment to reflect on how it felt to write and clarfiy what I might like to do with the poem. I wrote that I might like to put this into a form such as a sestine, or couplet form. Interestingly, I forgot this, and as I started to type it tonight, i tried couplets. Couldn't make it work, or maybe it didn't suit me...I'll have to see it it print first.
Thanks for reading!