Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Little Moses


I've had a couple of ultrasounds this week and we've determined that little Moses has my nose and Josh's dimpled chin. Two weeks before his due date it's odd to see him so well on the inside. He's breech so far, but I have high hopes for him turning and being born in the water at home.
Moses means "drawn from the water."


 
From my favorite poem about birth (thanks to the friend who long ago passed it my way), Galway Kinnell's "Under the Maud Moon," from his collection The Book of Nightmares:
 
6.
 
The black eye
opens, the pupil
droozed with black hairs
stops, the chakra
on top of the brain throbs a long moment in world light,
 
and she skids out on her face into light,
this peck
of stunned flesh
clotted with celestial cheesiness, glowing
with the astral violet
of the underlife. And as they cut
 
her tie to the drakness
she dies
a moment, turns blue as a coal,
the limbs shaking
as the memories rush out of them. When
 
they hang her up
by her feet, she sucks
air, screams
her first song -- and turns rose,
the slow
beating, featherless arms
already clutching at the emptiness.
 
 
The feeling of loss that gives way in the days leading up to the birth of a child, the sorrow in the joy of birth, the fear and love... are here understood by the poet, though he never gave birth. This emptiness colors everything -- gives meaning to all of it. I keep thinking of the "ache" in an essay I read in Robert Vivian's collection "The Least Cricket of Evening."  The ache that moves through everything is perhaps itself the root of joy.

And here is my sort of awful confession...Will I feel as though I didn't give birth if I end up having a C-Section? The thought is so personal, so intimate, that I refuse to voice it (except here)...mainly because I don't think there is an answer to this and whatever someone tells me will only be an attempt to ease me.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Light Source of Winter--from VCFA Winter 2012

Some part of me loves only wilderness, longs for a life lived in tune with the sun. That part wants to live where the night sky, radiant with the belt of the Milky Way, will light my path from the frozen lake to the sauna to the small house with smoke rising from the chimney like a friend awaiting my return.


And isn’t this all too romantic? Like believing you belong to another time period and yet knowing that you barely tolerate the way the modern era treats you, a woman, even if you are a white woman…and who’s to say how blond hair and blue eyes mark you. I remember my grandfather, an Icelander living in Northern Minnesota, saying something about the Scandinavian blonds of the Upper Midwest getting sent to New York to become prostitutes for their hair color. Was it “sent” or “stolen”? He seemed to like tales involving stolen women. Such as the story of Iceland: the Vikings landed in Ireland on their way and stole the most beautiful women to take with them to settle Iceland.


The sun in the winter sky today—late afternoon—rests just above the mountains, a smudged circular whiteness. I can look at it without my eyes hurting. In workshop, I watched the snow fall, the colors turn in the sky to a cold and blue clarity and I missed my Northern Minnesota home. I thought of the way the sun hung along the southern edge of the sky all day and tucked itself down to bed even before supper. The white of the lake covered in snow goes blue, a pale watery blue; tracks from skis lead strait out over the lake, their color a cobalt indent in the snow disappearing in the distance. Tonight I might sit and sweat in the sauna, I might chop wood in the space of silence, a quiet so heavy I can hear the trees creak from the weight of snow on their branches.


Vermont Hulbert Outdoor Center


And so it is this dulled ball of sun I think of for the color it makes in the world, for the way it cuts an outline in the trees that rise gray-green from the mountainside. This contrast becomes a sort of relief from no contrast, from the hatched gray wash of winter. This light waning, casts its best spell at dusk when a certain magic twinkles there in the midst and I am given to the best kind of hope, a sort of pleasured musing…a place where I most believe that the comfort of God has nothing to do with the afterworld.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Waiting Poems: Your Father

The snow will not keep.

You float in your amniotic sea

your head bobbing

hard against the skin of my belly.



The snow is

buoyant, insubstantial—

Where is the earth, the sky?



Your feet wiggle against my hip,

I say, “He will turn when he is ready.”



The acupuncturist,

Neurobiology PhD,

husband of the midwife,

says, “perhaps when you are ready.”



We had talked of his navigation from academia.

Nobody interesting thrives there—

only 10 in 10,000 scientists studying consciousness.

His hands resting on my nude toes,

calm as prayer.



I am thinking of the melody of consciousness.

I fear my husband is falling apart.

You go on wiggling; your soul hovers—

who are you?



What does it feel like

to be filled with a soul?

Your father whispers.



In the morning he is a fisherman heading for the docks,

a farmer walking out to slaughter the calf,

to collect eggs, draw a line in the soil, pray for sun.



At night I hold him to me.

You’re not selfish, I whisper.

Thank you.



Late in the afternoon he takes the camera to the lake.

Alone, he shoots the shore again and again.

He cocoons these shards of light all week,

until time parts and he slips once more

beyond its firm fingers, into his sea.



I am not an artist, he says.

I turn away.

I smile.





1/10/12