Monday, December 21, 2015

My Little Girl


I wonder if she'll ever write letters to her grandmother; if she'll bake honey wheat bread or cook crock pots of chicken carrot stew, hike mountain trails or design sleeves of tattoos. I wonder if she'll be a sculptress or a painter, a photographer, a surgeon, a soldier, a banker, farmer, teacher or a writer. Will she dance with me in the kitchen even when she's twenty? Will she pick wildflowers and raspberries with me? Plant pumpkins, kale and rosemary? Will she tell me fantastical fibs with the earnestness of a trained actress? Will she weep at the ballads of brilliant street buskers and poetry projectors? Will she blush, howl or condemn crass comedy? Will she sing me silly songs about blue bearded goats and crocodile castle moats? I wonder if she'll wear sparkly frills or fanny packs or black brimmed Annie Hall hats. If she'll insist on climbing the orchard's tallest tree or traveling through war-wrecked countries. Will my worry for her wreck me always? Will she want to have babies in the country like me or live alone in the center of a cement and steel sky-scraping city? Will she love sprinting along the sides of quiet streets, clomping through snow fields on snowshoes or paddling down dark blue rivers in a shiny red canoe? Will she be a politician, a protester, an anarchist? Will she be independent and confident, full of self-made opinions or shy and uncertain? Will she love books and brownies and Charlie Chaplin movies?  Will she hate her body or will I successfully shield her from the impossible, conflicting expectations our society thrusts upon young girls? Will she love swimming in the salt sea water? -I hope we sit on windy beaches, picking sand from our turkey sandwiches, throwing seaweed and chasing seagulls. Will we play cards and Scrabble and basketball? Will she have one love or many lovers? Will she pray? Will she suffer? Will she fight? Will her tears torment me always? Will she stand in her bedroom doorway shouting that she hates me as I once did to my poor mother when I was something like 15-years-old? What if we too are forced by war and weather to flee our home country?  -to become refugees, vagabonding with satchels of cooking pots, water jugs and beef jerky; begging, borrowing, looting. I wonder if Mother Earth's oil will dry up like the coffined deceased, leaving us common folk to our boots and bicycles. Maybe the grocery stores will empty and we'll be fed like prisoners or factory farmed cattle with soy and corn TV dinners. I worry about atomic warfare and suicide bombers with spewing bullets, packed pressure cookers and a desire for bodily destruction and Internet infamy. I fear super bugs and peanut allergies, cancers and bird flues, deer ticks and pesticide residues. I worry about racists, fascists and extremists of all establishments. But I have hope and hope is born of hope and she was born of me and my hope is like my faith in God and the goodness of people, it is embedded in my gut bacteria, my bone marrow and blood. And I believe hope spreads like yawns and laughter. It's found barefooted in a field of soft summer grass; in sheets of morning light between the slow sleepy skin of mother and father; in the glow of birthday candles, joyful singing, wild dancing and silence. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Baby Blood

On our blue floral bedding, which I have mended (scarred) with weaves of white threading, she lays, flailing her pudgy pale limbs, cooing and kicking at the vine tails dangling above her head. Raised scratches cut across her squishy cheeks like red yarn, greased. I retrieve the little nail clippers and sit at her feet. Holding her left hand, I clip the pinky's nail, then that of the ring finger, middle, and pointer. Then I turn over the thumb, make it flat, and align the two silver teeth. Maybe I'm moving too quickly, I can't say really, but the tool bites the tip of her tiny thumb. She stiffens into stillness. Full of anguish and mistrust, she lets loose a beastly bellow from deep below ---a moan so big and bad that her sob goes momentarily silent before the shock shakes wails from her wet wide mouth. Eventually, like a wave receding, she inhales. I pick her up, dizzy in my fright, and look at the dimpled hand. A small drop of blood rises from the round wound. I put the thumb into my mouth and suck, I don't know why ---some instinct that makes me forget the bathroom sink---and I keep it there between my lips, standing between the bed and closet, swaying, waiting for the fit to settle like a fog of flour above the mixing bowl.

And I'm left to wonder: how does a mother survive and not drop and die after her baby's soul abandons body to fly with the black birds of the sky?

My baby barely bled and I nearly fainted.