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.
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
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,
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,
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
you don’t have to reproduce to learn this,
so i hope my saying so
saves someone a LOT of trouble.
i didn’t think an
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)
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.