Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Black Thumb

I guess I never thought I'd have a garden

because I froze the very roots of everything I tried to grow when I was younger
and rotted so many plants dead that I gave up hope I'd ever get the sense of what they needed
enough to give them a fighting chance....

Thank God for pothos plants
and for succulents -
they are so forgiving of hands both heavy and light
that I found the faith I needed to dare drop seeds in the ground

and as I watch these beets and cucumbers and tomato plants thrive
under my care 
as I pluck the Leaf Miner egg cases off of the greens
like a nurse
as I work and breathe in the wet soil 
I smile to myself
remembering that 

I thought I'd never have a garden

If you had asked me when I was 28 I'd have told you I would not have a child.
I sat my mother-in-love down and told her so to break her heart quickly and be done with it.
To burn the wound clean and clarify.

I sure did like my friends' kids.
I had great memories of being a kid
motherhood was not in the cards for me,
black thumb-bearer
and maker of things

I had found my happiness.
I had staked out my claim and my future was a wide and clear desert sky
with no tethers beside loving a man who understood my need to take off 
and go, with or without him at any time I needed to.

I did not need to bring a soul into this broken world to know its pain
or maybe to help heal it
I didn't have any desire to have my heart pulled wide and spilled out daily
to wander through a crowd wondering whose neck I'd need to sink my teeth into lest they harm my child
to be played like a cello
the most bittersweet song of pulsing life and imminent death
thrumming and aching through my cells every single second
like shut this thing off / oh no please don't touch the dial
I've never heard music like this before
It's so beautiful
and it hurts too much to bear
 people ask me why I am not writing songs anymore....
could anyone pick a melody out of this racket?
I'm hearing choirs of angels right along with 
cranking rhythm guitar and marching-band-bass-drums
every second of every waking moment.

Can I have a moment?

Some asshat at the back of the house would say "When he's 18!"
if I was on stage

and I would throw a tomato at them
in like a month when they're ripe
because I don't like that old schtick any more than all the mothers ever

There was just this day where suddenly I did want a child
with everything that whole shebang entailed
and so it was.

And it was and it was and it was


Here he is now, not at all a baby anymore.
Capable of amazing conversation
if you're into trains, steam engines of all sorts, chocolate graham crackers, planes,
sparkling lights and tractors.
Counting to ten.
Kissing my arms.
Funny as all hell.
Perfectly selfish.
Learning manners.
Reluctantly sharing.
Rushing to be held.
Scaling medium heights.
Blowing my ever-loving mind daily.
Being my reason

I think it's important that we decide how things will be
as much as we want to 
with the understanding that it will not be so neat,
that life itself is so burly and overgrown
it practically muffles the perfect math of our plans

Standing in my yard looking at knee-high tete noir cabbage 
with my son I am both hugely grateful and tortured,
trying hard to let the gentle hush of the palm fronds
and the sweet jibber-jabber of a two-year-old 
Trying not to put the setting vanilla sun in a jar just so I can open it later
when there are other places he'll want to be.
Attempting to let the sweetness pass into chaos
trusting as we must
that all is as it will be
despite our plans, 



kgitlin said...

just beautiful....

catie said...

thank goodness for changes of heart.

Lizzie Derksen said...

Allison, you're scaring me. This is too eloquent--and I am firmly, uh, planted in the never-having-children camp.

jordan said...

boy do i feel you - and love you of course too. isn't this motherhood thingy amazing, bizarre, empowering and terrifying?! i'm feeling it freshly all again as i prepare to enter into it a second time. damn though, what better way to spend a life than with littles that love you and that you love with every fibre of your being, so much it hurts. thinking of you and walking this path alongside you, always! xoxo

Farm and Field said...


Katherine Willis Pershey said...

Gorgeous. You, Orion, the whole shebang. Just gorgeous.