New moon
New translation of Isaiah for Yom Kippur

Another mother poem: phantom baby


The biggest change:
    even when we're apart
        I'm not self-contained

always aware
    that you washed up
        helpless on my shore
strangers squint
    as I narrate my day
        in a sing-song to no one

the sticky smudges
    you left on my glasses
        frame everything I see

high-pitched voices
    make me turn, heart
        suddenly inside-out

you are missing
    from my hip
        an invisible ache

I'm becoming increasingly aware of the ways in which becoming Drew's mother has changed me. The first day he was in daycare, I walked up Spring Street toward a lunch date at the Thai place and was constantly conscious that he wasn't with me. After only six months, being apart already felt strange.

So far, it seems to me, parenthood is a constant process of letting go. There are trade-offs: in the womb we knew perfect intimacy, but couldn't meet. Now we are separate, which is at once the source of loneliness (especially for him, I'm guessing) and the source of our ability to connect. I can't help seeing this as a metaphor for how we relate to God, too: here in the created world it's our separateness from God which allows us to reach toward God and to be in relationship.

Anyway, this week's mother poem grew out of the experience of being apart from Drew. The poem's central metaphor is a riff on the idea that someone who has lost a limb may feel the limb's ghostly presence even after it's gone.

I didn't write to this week's Big Tent Poetry prompt, but here's a link to this week's Come One, Come All post so you can see what others wrote.