Poem-A-Day 2021, Day 15: Pat Anthony

There have been times in my life when I have pulled my car hastily into a parking lot and yanked napkins and a pencil from the glovebox to scribble a poem down before it evaporated from my head. The ten weeks between my taita’s diagnosis and her passing come to mind: a whole series of lamentations was conceived on the well-traveled streets between my aunt’s house and my apartment.

My elder child turns sixteen this weekend. My younger is a teenager now, too. I try not to get nostalgic about the days when they were small enough to fall asleep in my lap. I was exhausted then and could just as easily fall asleep with them, weighted down by their milky warmth. I’m exhausted now, too, and only a little bit from missing the time when it was easy to solve their problems for them just by meeting their basic needs.

I love the adolescents they’ve become as much as I loved the babies they were. But parenting is like one long series of fleeting moments dragging you through their timeline, alternately endless and the length of a blink, a chronology of fatigue punctuated by bliss and terror.

I can’t imagine I would ever trade it.

Tonight’s poem, “For Little Hawk” by Pat Anthony, reminds me of the holiness of ephemeral moments and of how much we miss when something larger than ourselves interrupts them. I hope, fervently, that we will reach some comfortable medium of immunity and stability by later this year. My ambitions are not grand, but sometimes, honestly, when I look at the world around me, they feel immense.

For Little Hawk

I stop the car to write
            how it’s been six months now
arms aching from the weight
            your sleeping little boy body
                        this cradle of absence

my shoulder bowed yet
            from the curve of your head
my lap waiting for the spill
            of your blanketed legs

Then we breathed each other
            my quick inhales fragrant
            with your milky exhales
                        your gentle settling into sleep

Now I press my fingers against glass
                        this air between us laden
                                    green walnuts
                                    chattering squirrels

                                    the lot of us at risk
                        of losing so much

we mask
            squares of cloth
                        straining  
                        cataracts
            threatening to breach

larval we twist inside
                        colorful chrysalises
suspended
            by a single strand from
                        which we thought to anchor
            before the dizzying spinning
                        thinned the sheath
                                                translucent
                        the struggle within
you
            trying out first words today
me
            holding back my own
love
            across an unsocial distance

But here along this road
            where I’ve stopped
                        beside melons split open
                        their bloody hearts raw and dying

I just wanted you
            to know how much I miss.

***

Pat Anthony writes the backroads, often using land as lens to heal, survive, and thrive while living with bi-polar disorder as she mines characters, relationships, and herself. A recently retired educator, she holds an MA in Humanities, poems daily, edits furiously and scrabbles for honesty no matter the cost. She has work published or forthcoming in multiple journals, including The Avocet, The Awakenings, The Blue Nib, Haunted Waters, Orchard Street, and more. Her latest chapbook, Between Two Cities on a Greyhound Bus, was recently published by Cholla Needles Press, CA. She blogs at middlecreekcurrents.com.

2 thoughts on “Poem-A-Day 2021, Day 15: Pat Anthony

  1. Your 2021 collection is really outstanding. I have recently been surprised to find that my agent, Paul, has suddenly started writing poetry, and has found a voice! I make no apologies for hi-jacking the comment thread to let you see one of his (from his collection-in-progress ‘Love Poems? Seriously?’):

    Go large, says the barista, go large,
    writing our names on our cups.

    I pick up yours, take a hidden sip,
    hand it back to you, oh sorry.

    Whereby our mouths touch by proxy,
    careless of cooties, my little coup d’état.

    Go large, says the barista, go large,
    writing the next couple’s names.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So glad you’re enjoying the series this year! I had so much good stuff that it’s spilling over into next year’s series already — too much for one month. 😉

      Thanks also for pasting Paul’s poem in, which I really like! Do you think he would let me feature it in a post some time?

      Like

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