Saturday, October 27, 2007

Must Read

Well, once again Moreena puts into words all I wish I could say and more. This week, she wrote about the anniversary of her daughter's first transplant. Please go read it. Forever more, when I am confronted with an unknowable question, not unlike Douglas Adam's "42", my answer may well be 3.

Her post brought to mind this poem I wrote down years ago in my poetry notebook. Yes, my poetry notebook. Because TC is really very sensitive inside, with a crusty exterior-like a scooter pie, sort of.

Mama's Promise-Marilyn Nelson Wanick

I have no answer to the blank inequity
of a four-year-old dying of cancer.
I saw her on t.v. and wept
with my mouth full of meatloaf.

I constantly flash on disaster now;
red lights shout Warning. Danger.
everywhere I look
I buckle him in, but what if a car
with a grille like a sharkbite
roared up out of the road?
I feed him square meals
but what if the fist of his heart
should simply fall open?
I carried him safely,
as long as I could,
but now he's a runaway
on the dangerous highway.
Warning. Danger.
I've started to pray.

But the dangerous highway
curves through blue evenings
when I hold his yielding hand
and snip his miniscule nails
with my vicious-looking scissors.
I carry him around
like an egg in a spoon,
and I remember a porcelain fawn,
a best friend's trust,
my broken faith in myself.
It's not my grace that keeps me erect
as the sidewalk clatters downhill
under my rollerskate wheels.

Sometimes I lie awake
troubled by this thought:
It's not so simple to give a child birth;
you also have to give it death,
the jealous fairy's christening gift.

I've always pictured my own death
as a closed door,
a black room,
a breathless leap from the mountain top
with time to throw out my arms, lift my head,
and see, in the instant my heart stops,
a whole galaxy of blue.

I imagined I'd forget,
in the cessation of feeling,
while the guilt of my lifetime floated away
like a nylon nightgown,
and that I'd fall into clean, fresh forgiveness.

Ah, but the death I've given away
is more mine than the one I've kept:
from my hand the poisoned apple,
from my bow the mistletoe dart.

Then I think of Mama,
her bountiful breasts,
when I was a child, I really swear,
Mama's kisses could heal.
I remember her promise,
and whisper it over my sweet son's sleep:

When you float to the bottom, child,
like a mote down a sunbeam,
you'll see me from a trillion miles away;
my eyes looking up to you,
my arms outstretched for you like night.


moreena said...

Thank you, TC.

And thank you for that poem, too, which has me weeping over my morning coffee. Nothing wrong with that, though. Not a thing.

Susan said...

I would love to put your poem on my blog if it is OK with you. It really touched me. Please let me know.

sogren at rocketmail dot com