Tuesday, May 19, 2009

POEM: too soon

I miss your suckling lips
that sweet face, staring into mine
the ease with which we came together
and even when we parted
and moved on about our day
I knew there was a next time
and another
so many more days and nights were to follow
until you chose some day to let go
of mother’s milk
on your own terms

a bond stronger than iron
gentle as rain

but now it is gone
that bond broken by my own hand
those days are to be no more
soon they will dry up
arid, empty, floating in memory
like a dead leaf upon the wind
a loss so deep I feel it in my skin
as much as in my heart

My breasts ache for you
and my only consolation
is that while you have not yet forgotten
you seem satisfied now
with my arms
my long hair
my singing voice
my immense love alone
will be enough for you

Oh my dearest child
it is by losing my breast
that you will have all of me still
and by forgetting mother’s milk
you will have your mother’s life
a cruel twist of fate
but with at least some mercy
for both of us, I hope

Saturday, May 16, 2009

POEM: The Flow

Today I want to write
some days that is all I really want to do
admittedly, almost shamefully
not to mother
nor to be a wife
not even a friend
but just to sit with pen and paper
or keyboard and screen
and write
pour words out like drops of blood
empty my veins
release the flow
cleansed by getting out the thoughts
before they disappear and become lost
unfamiliar, mutated
like a tangled clot

Yet the very distractions
that keep me from the page
are what give my voice
something to say

Strange beast, this writing thing
without the pull away from it
I would never be able to come back
the longing would be filled
with other things, perhaps
the pull would be away
from other places
that flow would be redirected
and I would bleed no more
but I think
the wound would somehow still be missed
like a phantom limb
haunting my memory
but without remembering

Monday, May 11, 2009

POEM: cracked shell

Don’t disturb my shell, please
the thin, delicate wall
I’ve built around my fear
encloses it and keeps it from escaping

If you break through
it will shatter and I will smash
into tiny chards, like glass
not to be touched
lest they cut the flesh
of the very one who offers comfort

I'll have to sweep them up
like grains of jagged sand
sharply slipping through fingers
and mingling with my blood and tears.

Don't disturb my shell, please
it's all that is holding me together now

Saturday, May 2, 2009

POEM: please baby, don't wake

please baby, sleep, don’t wake
because I cannot put you back to sleep
I don’t know how, anymore
without giving you what you want
and cannot have
I am so lost

oh my darling boy, you will never remember
how sweetly you suckled at my breasts
the tenderness with which I stroked your hair
soft, golden like my own
the loving way you gazed up at me
blue eyes turning green
like mine

when you were first born
our nursing was harder than with your sister
sometimes it doesn’t go easy
but because I had the gift of her
I knew
and I kept going
and you learned, quickly
we worked it out

as you grew you came to my breast
less often
this is as it should be
a busy toddler has things to do
to become
I imagine it is easy at that age
to lose the connection
just a little
but my breasts kept us tied
for those precious times
when you wanted comfort
or to sleep
or just to remember that you were loved

I had assumed that like your sister
our nursing would continue
until you were much, much older
you, like her at this age, showed no signs
of giving it up any time soon
but then this cancer happened
and Mama’s ta-ta’s are not okay
they are broken
and I must take them away from you
or be taken away from you myself

it sounds so simple
but it is the hardest thing I have ever done in my entire life
and I mourn for this more than for anything else
I might lose

last night you woke
lying next to me
wanting my breast
I said no, hoping you would drift back to sleep
but you didn’t
yet I thought I had to remain firm
for what will happen during the days to come
when my breasts offer you poison
and not the sweet milk you crave?

you cried, Daniel, my darling
you begged, “Mama, pease!”
I cried, I rocked you, I cursed the universe
for making me do this wretched thing
to one I love more than life itself

and I do, my Daniel, love you
more than my own life
if I thought it would be best for you
or your sister
I would die
I would let the cancer take me
and give you my milk till the end
you must believe that

but I know what you cannot
that to lose me would be worse

I want you to forgive me
so much it is a physical ache
that will hurt more than anything
wrack me with more pain
than this cancer will ever inflict

but it is not for myself
that I want your forgiveness
although I would treasure it
more than you could know
it is for your own sake
that I want you to forgive Mama
please, my baby, my heartsong
you must not let this divide you
from your mother
for you still need me
that you and your sister still need me
is what I am living for

please baby, sleep, don’t wake
Mama loves you