CHASING THE BALL
The kettle on the stove whistles a low, slow tune
as you circuit from nursery to hallway to kitchen
and back again, chasing a rattling ball.
When you catch up to it, you throw it forward again
and I remember all of the goals I tossed out
then headed toward (grimly or with joy)
someday we'd be able to dress you for nightfall
in fewer than four layers of wool and fleece
as soon as your body learned how to be warm
someday you'd focus on my face, someday
the binary of sleeping or screaming would fan out
into a rainbow spectrum of possibilities...
I didn't know enough to anticipate your glee
when I pick you up, count to three, then
turn you so the world is upside-down
or your determined grip on the xylophone mallets
too big for you to wield, how you change course
and kneel up to bang on the wooden keys instead
now when you say ma-ma-ma I tell you that's my name
and look, there's daddy, that's the cat, do you want
your ball? Soon your babble will coalesce
and then what? I can't even imagine what's coming.
The rising sun casts the hills in pink. I sip my tea.
You barrel ahead. All I can do is follow.
I borrowed a line from Deb of Stoney Moss: "The kettle on the stove whistles a low, slow tune[.]" It's a longer line than I usually work with these days, which shaped the prosody of this poem.
This is the latest in my ongoing series of mother poems. Drew turned eleven months old last week; we're coming up on a year of motherhood and a year of mother poems. I don't know whether I'll keep writing and posting these after his birthday, or whether I'll move to a different creative project and turn to revising the product of this first year's work.
My last big paper for rabbinic school is due right after his birthday; after that, I might take a month to let things lie fallow, and then see where the secular new year takes me. Anyway, it's not time for any of those things yet. November, here we go.
Here's a link to this week's Come One, Come All post so you can see what other poets did with this prompt...