Sunday, January 24, 2010


They say nothing can prepare you, yet she was ready.
Books predicted the extra sensitive nipples
and Braxton Hicks false alarms.
What the pages left out was filled in
by soon-to-be grandmas and colleagues
balancing work on top of their lives.
Prenatal visits and birthing classes
checked off the last weeks.
He was working on the crib–
the missing piece to the bird-themed nursery.
She had done everything she needed to do
and before that married the college sweetheart,
bought the corner lot with fenced-in space
for the first of her 2.5 and the canine companion.
Waiting was all that was left.

After eradicating the traces of his last home brew
with bleach and iodine, he wondered
how much more of his life would change.
He wouldn’t have time to resurface the tub
before the baby came.
Everything was for the baby–
assembling the 4-in-1 crib from first-time grandparents,
upgrading to 2700 square feet three blocks away from Montessori.
At least obedience school taught him to hold his ground
when brown eyes begged for another treat.
But with his luck she’d have her mother’s green
and the curse of the Elmwood nose.
Teaching her how to stick up for herself
tacked on to his honey-do list.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

New Year's Resolution

In the middle of the night
your friend’s Siamese finds her way back to the couch,
her favorite place to sleep, the territory she ceded
when your Christmas morning flight to New York City disrupted her routine. 
Perhaps when you shifted position from the left side to lay flat
your knee bumped into something that felt oddly soft, pliant,
with a slight rise and fall.  Disoriented, your eyes open
to the ceiling, but it reveals nothing about where you are;
all ceilings look the same in the dark.  
Looking left, your eyes fixate across the room
1:43 glows soft in green. 
You remember: you are at a friend’s house
a little more than 3 hours into sleep
a little less than 3 hours left to go. 

Your eyes lock with the Siamese’s pale blues. 
Your presence on the couch has disturbed
her sleep in more ways than one tonight. 
You mumble an apology, massage that spot on her temple. 
The cat rubs her head against your knee
satisfied by your attempt to make amends. 
It is only when you shift over two more inches–to give her more space–
you realize how long it has been since you did just that:
six months since the last warm body,
much longer for the one you hoped was something more.
You position into fetal, let the cat fill the U-shaped space
in your surrender and promise that next year will be different.