(For Ryanne, my 8 year old, who said the other day as we drove by horse stables on the way to school: “Mom, horse manure doesn’t smell good, but I like the smell, because it reminds me of something…something I don’t know.” )
All day in fields you go,
remembering something you don’t know.
It’s hot in the sun, and you don’t even try
and no one looks at you while you make the sky.
She had purple sheets.
She had a purple cloud.
She lay down on her big bed
And she laughed out loud.
I can’t lay my head down on the table at breakfast and sob, “I miss you!” or I’ll upset them as they are heading out for their second day of grade school.
(I also can’t say, “I’ve done so much. Where’s the appreciation?” or, “Mama needs to nurture herself right now, and how’s she gonna do that?”)
We need a plumber for the sink, but I don’t even care. I’m done with all that.
I go out into the world, like an amoeba or an infant who needs swaddling.
I drive to the library, one of the safest places I know.
I talk with the librarian as if she is an old friend.
I wander the children’s stacks, among familiar titles.
I run my finger along the spines of the books.
I don’t have the heart to check any out, like we did over the summer.
I head toward the exit where daylight glares through the tall windows.
I feel as if I could throw myself in blue splotches up to the mezzanine.
When our daughters,
ages 5 and almost 8,
rest their weight on their elbows and
lean their chins into their cupped palms,
their cheeks fill up their hands,
spilling out between their fingers.
I can still scoop up these big girls from underneath,
cradling the backs of their knees
and their arm pits in my forearms,
and holding the whole of them to me.
I hold one of them and I sway back and forth,
rotating from the waist, saying to my husband,
“Remember when she was just a tiny baby?”
I do this because it feels good
and because I’m physically able to do it.
I do it because it’s a way
of reminding us that we’re all ok.