The seventh day: crossing the Sea
Poem in Spirit Voyages

New toddler house poem


It's only a zoo
when we throw a party:
two-year-olds squabbling
over the flowered magnifying glass,
seven-year-olds borrowing
every blanket in the house
for their palace under the stairs.
But even our own lone monkey
creates chaos by day's end
swinging from toy trains
to ball pit to iPad.
Once his door's pulled shut,
white noise machine engaged,
this zookeeper collapses
with glass of wine in hand.
Life was different once.
Now spontaneity means inventing
new sounds for wooden trains, not
deciding to drive north
until we find exactly the junk store
we never knew we were missing
or catching a Richard Thompson show
in a smoky bar three hours away.
But my heart grows three sizes
every morning before breakfast
when I spy my little simian
beaming through the bars
of his cage.


The newest installment in the "...toddler house" series is the first which wasn't sparked by a moment of specifically Jewish time (morning or evening prayer, Shabbat or havdalah, Pesach) but just by the big-picture experience of parenting our toddler. When I named the first toddler house poem, I was thinking of the toddler house as being a bit like the monkey house at the zoo: this is the house which is defined by its sometimes rowdy inhabitant. The zoo metaphor isn't a particularly original one, but it stuck with me, and I decided to run with it. Voila.

I'm not sure I like the line "Life was different once." (Talk about unoriginal.) But I haven't been able to come up with a succinct other way of saying it. Anyway, if you have thoughts on that line or on the rest of the poem, feel free to drop a comment.