deliberately. effortlessly.

when i split a log

i tap the wedge

tip tap tip tap tip tap

         Whack

and once it’s in

the split begins

so i step back to listen

to the crackle crickle crack

of fibers once so stitched

coming apart;

the tipping point

of matter:

permanently altered

as the new log shaves off,

cleaving under the

tickle tickle tap, tap tickle

       Whack

complete division,

effortless and deliberate:

 

The friend of your enemy

used to be your friend.

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the un-calm-est heart

turns out I can’t teach

you forgiveness if I don’t

show you forgiveness.

 

I’m so sorry we

practiced so many times today,

I’m sorry to cry-

 

~and~

 

this time it’s haiku

because I love you and damn

it, I tried so hard.

the autumn air remembers

[we built a fire, the nina and i, and while she kept warm i walked the recyclable household rubbish to its designated receptacle. i found these words along the way.]

you are an act

of divinity,

of nature

and science

 

that i did not request,

that i would not send back,

that i can not retract

 

but i did react:

i’m still reacting,

i had to adapt:

i’m still adapting.

 

if there is any wisdom in existence

it is illusive and

insistent.

the reckoner

the pollo and i played on the porch in the rain when i realized i had given birth to the person who forces me to see myself: to process and calculate my life for what it has been, is now, and will become. i never expected she had come to reckon me; not i reckon her.

the reckoner:

reckons.

 

she was a shadow:

i delivered her in flesh.

 

she calls the rain

and she calls the dance,

 

she commands the balance

to steady and to tip.

 

a storm herself,

swept up, swept away,

 

carried out

and carrying on.

 

she reckons the day is perfect,

she reckons forever is the moment:

 

she tags in,

i tap out.

 

justice

follows judgement;

 

light

to the hidden places

 

and secrets i never knew

i knew:

 

she has called to the dead,

she has stirred the grinds,

 

she demands me see myself,

she demands me live my life-

 

she demands.

and i will teach the reckoner

 

the best i have learned

from the worst i have lived.

 

yes mija,

i reckon

 

right now could be forever

and i wish

 

forever could have been

right now.

 

the baby and the chainsaw

this one is a poem in a more essay-ish format…or rather an essay in a more poem-ish format. format aside!! it’s a rhythmic wry observation about how my heart reset the way i measure an intimidating task and get beyond my own crippling fear to fail at the absurdly mundane.

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i recently took our chainsaw out of forced retirement.

it had haunted my waking dreams,

this sad tool:

 

like a brave little toaster

(i can’t and never could watch that movie)

with gas older than our baby

resting in it’s tank.

 

i took off the bar and the chain,

i cleaned out 5 years of

oily ick

with a pair of old knickers-

(i guess all clothes are just cloth

when you cut them apart.)

the most comfortable rags,

brought to you by Hanes.

 

sorry, i told the brave little chainsaw,

we fell out over your extremely lame chain-tensioning system.

it’s supposed to be easy,

poetry in motion for the poetic homeowner,

but it was different than what i had previously known

so instead of calling myself intimidated,

i called the system stupid

and decided it would be better to gnaw through logs

with my teeth (straightened at great expense)

than struggle to learn something new.

 

i hid it away

because i couldn’t put myself in a case in the barn.

but in this particular, unexpected perk of motherhood,

i don’t think the bits of this saw are so scary anymore.

 

i gave life without knowing how:

to change a diaper (i still occasionally install them backwards),

to comfort a tantrum,

to sympathize or empathize with said tantrum,

to teach a language,

to teach a second language,

to labor,

to nurse,

to love.

so the saw is reborn

in the wake of the newborn

 

because now i can see it was only ever nuts and bolts-

a trial and error devoid of any real consequences.

and as i reassembled

what i was once so afraid to not get right,

and therefore to have gotten wrong,

i had to stop to wonder what i was ever so scared of.

how long had i a been such a crippled,

over thinking,

self-doubting,

perfectionist?

 

keeping another human alive

and helping her heart be well,

have suddenly made

air filters and spark plugs and chain tensioning and gas mixing

not so complicated

anymore.

 

you don’t have to reproduce to learn this,

but apparently,

i did.

so i hope my saying so

saves someone a LOT of trouble.

 

i didn’t think an

incest survivor

from a dysfunctional home

with a scary, unseen illness,

lacking in emotional coping skills,

whose instincts have been derailed

and whose own body wants to destroy her

could ever be a good mum-

(or use the “tooless chain tensioning system” for that matter)

 

BUT

 

no matter the schemes of man (as the quote goes)

and no matter the thieves,

i still believe

and i’m still a primate,

so i can reflect:

 

and sure as hell,

with the right help,

i have learned

and i won’t stop learning.

in the hospital

i saw the compassion of care

and the cruelty of triage.

 

i heard the vaguest answers for

the most pointed questions.

 

i felt the privilege of

being sick, but feeling better:

 

of starting to look quite well

even though the wellness

is quite an illusion.

 

i live with an incurable monster:

an insatiable beast:

 

who has served

to make me present

and grateful,

but also angry

and hateful.