MOTHER PSALM 8
Three times a day I lift the tray table
from its moorings, unsnap your plastic bib
and carry them both to the same kitchen sink
where I bathe you. A few swipes of soapy sponge
and both come clean, half-eaten blueberries
and fallen cheerios (dinner's debris, evidence
of the excited swipe of your fist) swirling
into the drain's aluminum basket. This week
you prefer rotini to purees. You answer us
with chanted vowels, embellishing with trills.
You tip your head to one side, beaming, then
wave to your breakfast, to your mother,
to the colored bowls you like to knock together
to hear their percussive sounds. Some days
grind like a broken mobile from the start:
barely out of the crib and you're already cranky,
refusing sleep's comfort because you can't bear
the world going on without you. But we make it
to the finish line (pear yogurt, open mouth)
and then the slate's washed, you're in PJs
and I remember again that everything's temporary.
Your tired tears may endure for the night
but breakfast comes in the morning. Child,
I dress you in gladness; sing praises, open wide.
This week's mother poem was written in response to a wordle prompt at Big Tent Poetry. From that wordle cloud I chose the words debris, child, evidence, chant, half-eaten, embellish, answer, and temporary. The end of the poem contains allusions to psalm 30, one of my favorite psalms.
Before Drew was born, I spent a couple of years writing and sharing weekly Torah poems (all of which are linked from my VR Torah Commentary page.) When I started writing these mother poems last December, I didn't realize I was entering into a new weekly discipline. But I've come to look forward each week to seeing where my mother poem will take me, much as I used to look forward to seeing what would arise for me in studying the weekly parsha. I hope to write Torah poems again someday, but for now, I'm immersed in the lived Torah of the experience of motherhood, and these weekly lines are my way of celebrating this experience as it unfolds.
I've started collecting these mother poems into a new manuscript. (Would you believe that this is the 39th mother poem so far?) Taken together, they offer an amazing chronicle of the journey. As I collect the poems, I'm beginning to revise here and there; a few poems have new titles, and others have changed shape slightly. The one thing I'm not doing, at least not yet, is changing the order of the poems. I like having them in chronological order, a mirror held up to Drew's changes -- and mine.
I'll edit this post on Friday to include a link to this week's "Come One, Come All" post so you can see what other folks did with this wordle prompt.