Friday, December 20, 2013

Like A Herd of Luminous Deer: New Baby, Old Friends




Often when I imagine you
your wholeness cascades into many shapes.
You run like a herd of luminous deer
and I am dark, I am forest.
                           
                              --Rilke




Photo by Andrei Contiu

There is the baby in your arms and your husband beside you in the dark of a December night after the snow fell all day and you birthed this child. You brought him into the world; your body shook like a hurricane, like something primal and wild and as he slid from the nether world of your womb. You cried and let the world come anew; let the waves wash over you. And when it was all over we remembered it as though a dream—we looked at the boy and fell in love.

***

The first snow of the year, and then the baby; an old friend comes to visit and we speak true things. The true things fall onto the table between us like shiny stones; I am breathless and remember the sea. All things come from the sea. All things from the sky at night where the moon hangs like a paper crane. Oh, all the true things between us and the deep wells of fear I felt for you, as though you were calling to me as you began to climb the mountain and I did not know if I would see you again, but the fact that I always do reassured me.

Old friends, like saints or angels, old friends like rhythms in our fingers, on the tip of the tongue. We walked under the Christmas lights and easily I slipped into that old sarcastic glove of self—the horrible jokes at someone else’s expense, and the love, too the love, because we laughed and laughed and you pointed to the bar where you’d met your now X-husband and our other friend said, “Probably a lot of people met their husbands around here.” And we laughed at that and how he was a pilot and you had loved him but it had not worked, it couldn’t. But there were the boys now and you loved them, and they were beautiful. They made it all worth it.

One of us was too cold and the other two were lit with a wild longing, to laugh and be near each other after stuffing our faces with so much rich food. But we left the lights and returned to the car and you dropped me off at home and we said we would meet again the next day but we never did. You were doing art and I was mothering. And our other friend said she had to stay home because the roads were bad and also she didn’t want to sprain her ankle walking on the slippery sidewalk.