Tuesday, January 31, 2012


A string of prayer flags hang outside the house across the street. Squares of yellow, blue, white, and red flap and fray in the winter wind, bright against the brown of the house, the gray of the sky. I know these neighbors only a little. They are a far-flung couple, always traveling. He is taller then I ever think possible. She is quiet. Their flags say more, strung from the side of the house like that, extending over to the corner of the carport, supporting the roof in ways it never thought it needed. It's a banner I notice every day.


My mother tells me this story -- when I was a small child, she would sometimes go into my room late at night and gather me up, for no other reason than to snuggle. During the day, closeness was not something I craved, or from what it sounds like, tolerated all that much. So she held me while I slept, unaware.


I have an edge. I can feel it. A boundary that separates the self from everything else. Me from the ether. It's permeable, though, and when the conditions are right I can spread out, first like a dollop of pancake batter but instead of cooking into something more solid I liquify even more, becoming thinner and even separating until I'm a series of shadowy pools, not shallow but each deeper than the ocean. When it's time for me to collect myself,  I inhale with slow suction, gathering everything through my mouth until I am filled back up. Even more than before.


They often roll out of bed and right back into whatever they were doing last night, whatever it was that they dreamed about. I greet them with a groggy voice. Make breakfast with sleep seared eyes. Not quite here.

He always hugs them.

I usually don't. I mean, sometimes I do. But not always.

Why not? I don't know. I just don't. I don't know why. I just don't.


They're asleep. No one is talking to me. I'm silent and folded inside, gathered up and here, the whole ocean sloshing in my stomach.

My eyes are closed but I can see the cords, the ones that are always there but invisible in the daylight, strung from me to them, them to me, each to the other. A web that stretches with distance. I sit here and fortify those lines, a spinster late in the night, working not with string

but with light.

Friday, January 20, 2012

like this

It's bathtime. I'm downstairs at my computer, working, separated from them by enough vertical space to call this away. The baby monitor is on, though. We keep the base in the upstairs bathroom, a neutral location that allows us to hear post-bedtime stirrings from each of the bedrooms. The listening end is down here, but in the other room.

He herds them into the bathroom and I hear it all, sounds blended together, echoing the way things do in a bathroom. Fed through these wires, amplified and distorted, the decibles rise and fall with a pitch that spikes in screeches and what sounds like some major squall. If I was new to this house, I might put my work on hold to race up there and see what's going on. But I live here. I know. This is earsplitting -- but nothing, really.

I could get up and turn the monitor off. The sound is really invading my space, magnified like this. But I don't. It's not really bothering me.

Which is interesting, because when I'm right there at the center of things, discord sounds like this to me all the time -- turned up, too loud, piped right into my face. It rubs over all my surfaces like sandpaper until everything I try to keep in starts oozing out, drop by drop, collecting in my eyelashes and filling my mouth so I can't see or breathe.

And I can't turn it off. 


I don't know if I could stay home like that. It a statement but also a question, tangled up with unknown parts respect, disbelief, and determination. I wonder if she means I have a different constitution.

Well, we all do what we do. It's my best response. If I'm feeling more honest than that, I might laugh and admit that I don't know how I do it either, sometimes. But if I'm feeling soulfully honest I might say -- like this --


The late morning sun saturates the living room rug and leaks all over the floor. We're sitting up to our chins in it, the two littles and I, and it's splashing in our eyes. I reposition the dollhouse so our backs are to the windows but light still glances blindingly off the shiny plastic surfaces.

They complain a little. I ignore them.

Because I can't move. I'm transfixed. The sun radiates off their heads, highlighting each strand of hair and hurting my eyes. I see them like this:

Illuminated. On fire. Metamorphosing every second. So bright my eyes ache and water. I blink twice and they've both moved out of the direct light and the effect is gone. But the image is burned into my retinas.

Into my heart.

-- like this.

Monday, January 16, 2012


Waking up is a web I wade through. Its tendrils stick in my hair. I move slowly.

Black coffee in front of me, gallon of milk in my hand. I pour, too late wondering if the little bit left might mean that its post date. Already gone bad. That would be just my luck. 

I hold the gallon up to my face and squint in the dim kitchen light. Nope. The expiration date marked on the outside did not pass. It is not today. Or any day all that close. The number doesn't even register as a list of things to do, not the way tomorrow does.

Good. It's not spoiled. This cup is still mine.


I turn the last page. Close the cover. The story is over. That's the end.

But the characters tracked sun spots and mud all over my insides.  They left their marks. Glitter drips from my eyes.

I wish I could do that to you.


We're outside. The snow is starting to melt but it's enough to stomp through. Footprints mark the backyard with their comings and goings until its more brown than white.

I'm Harry and you're Hermionie.

I'm a bear.

I'm a wolf.

What are you?

Let's be Shell and Dorothy. 

Bumblebee. Baby bird.

They can reinvent themselves at will. Imagination is a new snowfall every time. 

We go back inside and their boots shed slush on the rug I just shook out. I hang their snowpants downstairs.


Veins crisscross my belly, blue on white, marking skin stretched tight and with still more to go. They will shrink and fade very soon. But first I have to cross over.

When are you due?

Mid March. I don't remember the exact date. Maybe I should write it on my forehead. 


I'm leaning over pulling boots onto her feet when I do a double take. I see my hands. But they're my mother's. The veins stand out just like hers. Good veins.

The pattern speaks all about what's under my skin. A map marked before I was born. Mine.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Before you fold forward, scoot your leg out a bit wider to create space for the baby. As you lengthen upward first, reclaim the space in your spine between each vertebra. Good. Now move forward. forward. forward. and down. 

Space. Shift to make more. Lengthen to reclaim.


The three bedrooms in our house are cozy, with tiny closets and capacity to hold beds and dressers and that's about it. With another baby on the way, I'm having a very hard time imagining the three big girls and all their stuff sharing one space. Some days, I'm not sure how one more body is going to fit in this house.

But on other days, there's this:

It goes on for a half hour, maybe more. There's the loud, loud counting -- a chorus of two with one lagging, learning echo. There's the pounding of feet as they look in one room, then the next, then the next. There's the squealing and laughter and shouts of found you, found you. There are new hiding places and old ones reused again and again. This game doesn't get old. There is always enough space.You just have to find it.


It was one of those nights. The kind that only happen once in awhile these days, but which used to be my day upon day: all those piles and piles of nights interrupted, in the very palpable past. The shadows under my eyes still haven't faded.

So I meet this day with dread stuck in the corners of my eyes, hard bits of solidified sleep that don't want to loosen.

I can't handle a life of nights like that. I'm thinking ahead, of course.

It's not going to be like that. He's pouring his coffee and doesn't look up.

Yes, it will. I want to worry. And I want him to worry, too.

Cup full, he looks at me. You're right. It will. If you think like that. 


The pool is cold. In this dream, at least, I don't know how to swim. I stand on the edge and take the first step down, then another. Then another. When the water reaches my chin, I stop. I cannot go any further. I'm paralyzed.

But here is how it could be. It will be. It is.

At that same edge I exhale everything. What I inhale is air, not tar, and my lungs lengthen so the breath fills not just my chest but my belly and my sinuses and my feet and my fingernails and the fraying ends of my hair. So when I dive into the water, I touch the bottom with both palms before pushing back to the surface. Bouyant. Afloat. And it doesn't matter anymore if I cross the length of the pool in this moment or not. Right here is very nice.


I pull into the driveway after yoga class. The porch light shines in a dim semicircle, highlighting the front door. But before I go in, I stand in the dark and look up at the black space above me. At the small sliver of infinity domed over my head.

And then it caches my eye, like it always does -- the moon. Somewhere near half again tonight, but in a different cycle than last time. The crescent curve angles upward so the thing appears as a cup brimming with blackness, holding onto whatever negative space it can. Tomorrow, it will grow, pushing outward, claiming that space with light, on and on until it's round and full and ready to go back and back and birth a new moon all over again. Shifting phases. Shrinking and growing. Always reclaiming or being reclaimed.