jillypoet: mom trying to write

Each day I wish I had invented waterproof sticky notes (for shower inspiration) or pen-friendly diapers to get down all my quirky thoughts that I am sure are relevant and publishable. And so God (actually another writer-mommy) sent me The Blog.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

After the Surgery

He has traveled from New York to Vermont and back again and the only map he has is the one on his belly. A new route carved over the old one. First surgery, second surgery. He lifts his shirt to show my son. See this road? Follow it all the way to here, take a left and you’ll be in Pennsylvania. We intend to head north when we leave the hospital, head for the hills and the work that must be done to open the lake house for summer. Instead we head east, back to Vermont. This is not home. My husband knows I need to travel, even when I do not. We drive onto the ferry, cross the lake. Should we have paid the ferryman? In the time it takes one cloud to traverse the day’s blue sky, green mountain to green mountain, we are lost. Windows down, each deep breath replaces hospital bleach with spring manure. Refresh, renew. Each cow we see wears one too many black You are here spots. I let my daughter-body drift out of the car, straddle a cow. If we move slowly, I can get home. My father has given me a map I can not read. Tom-tom, tom-tom. If I had an internal positioning system, I would know what to do with the lines, the ones on the road, the ones cutting across his body. Let’s rip the map. You take half. I’ll take half. One of us will know where to go. South, north. East, west. Orwell. Brandon. Vergennes. Middlebury. I drag my finger across the map’s wrinkled remains. Ferry to New York. I have never been sure of the plan. Lost or found?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

there are a lot of truly wonderful images in here. and many stories that could have pieces of their own: your son seeing the scar, how your husband knows what he knows, etc.

have i mentioned recently how proud i am that you're writing about this?

4:32 PM  
Blogger jillypoet said...

thank you. you should see the first draft. it's a two page poem--not a prose poem, either.

i just can't seem to NOT write about it.

5:00 PM  
Blogger Nathan1313 said...

I really like the theme of maps that confuse direction. This was a joy to read.

6:21 AM  
Blogger Jon said...

I'm fascinated by the constant movement in this poem, both the literal movement in all of its forms and complications and the movement to embody direction and misdirection (and then to rediscover direction through an out-of-body experience?). There are so many forces at work and so many contrasts that I'll be re-reading this one for days. This one confounds me in just the very way I like a poem to confound me. Thanks.

12:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i found moments to love in most every sentence (the only map he has, the moment with your son, the cloud traversing, you are here spots,etc). it's an every day common enough experience but the way you've written it is exceptional

2:27 AM  

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