Monthly Archives: April 2015

BIRTH DAY for Milo

Monet's Magpie

The Magpie by Claude Monet, 1869

Your birth, I remember it well,
Born on the cusp of spring,
The essence of it stamped on my memory:
Unexpected April heat, my heavy, restless body pushing through thick air
Walking the loop—up the hill, down by the graveyard, alongside the woods,
Anticipation mounting with each contraction,
Rattling my teeth with nervous energy.

And all around, a building storm,
Earth barely containing the rising tide of sap,
A river of new life surging along branch tips, swelling the buds.

Third child and well attended, I had the rhythm of things down,
The cyclical understanding that roots into the fabric.
An understanding of the flow of things,
The current that would drive me along.
The midwife could see that and left me to labor in peace.

Peace in pain, a strange eye of the storm,
When you push the walls away from you,
Allowing the breath to come; release.

The walls of the room dissolved,
The energy of the womb focused
On that postcard-sized snow-settled landscape,
The magpie seated on the farmyard gate,
Illuminated by soft winter sunlight,
Patiently waiting for spring.

And when I stepped out into the world again
Carrying you, my new born, in a soft swaddling of blankets,
The pear trees were wreathed in white blossom.

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IMAGINE A TREE

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Multi-chambered
fortress, tree house, throne
toe holder, ship’s mast
staircase to the heavens
galleon of the woods above
tentacle crawling roots below
battle scarred silver hide
xylem and phloem
carrying fingerprints
of centuries, absorbing
earth and air, detritus
one fleeting moment of many
flickering image—
ghost at the back of an eyelid—
the chestnut mare
scratching her rump
against a beech sapling
green with fast flowing growth
on a June evening
in a cloud of golden gnats
and her tail swishing
from side to side
the memory ingrained
in a low-slung limb
a moss saddled horse.

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