When I wake up, my son tells me a riddle:

Sunday, September 03, 2017

(for Gregory Crosby)



It's a grownup.  It's a woman.  It's the person who gave birth to me. 

*
When I wake up, I pick up my phone to check the time, check Facebook, check the app that says how much deep sleep I got.  1 hour, 21 minutes.  You were 20% in Deep sleep.  Deep sleep helps with physical recovery and aspects of memory and learning.  If you're feeling extra refreshed, you likely spent some time in this stage.  I am not extra refreshed.  I try to remember my dreams.  I think I was getting something renewed, some government permit.  My friend, the poet who always wears a suit, was there maybe.  We were in a snaking line in a government agency, but we had each other to talk to.  We were kind of having fun.  We were kind of menaced.  I was in REM sleep for 1 hour, 38 minutes.  REM has been shown to be important for your memory and mood.  During this stage, dreams are more vivid, heart rate is elevated, and breathing is faster.  I think, I will set my intention for the day.  I will be compassionate toward myself and others.  My mind spits out expletives in return.

*
Before my son was born, when he was still a fetus named Eva or Ella or Charlotte, I found out he was a boy.  When the ultrasound tech told me, I said, Are you sure?  There was a period of adjustment, but I decided that I would named him Charles and walk him around by the hand, both of us scowling at people and being precocious, like Esm√© holding her brother's hand in the Salinger story.  Come along, Charles.  I came to realize, that while precocious, his name is not Charles, we are not orphans in wartime England, he is not my brother, and he will only intermittently hold my hand.  Yesterday at Barnes and Noble, he zipped back and forth in front of the Legos, his voice rising as he demanded larger and larger sets.  I redirected him to the small cars, helped him choose one, then we read a book about high maintenance ponies, and then I ushered him to the cafe to get my coffee.  He zipped ahead of me to come to a halt inches from a young man waiting for his drink, and then he pointed his finger at the man vigorously, saying, YOU!  The man did not look charmed, nor did we talk about military wristwatches and dead soldiers.  Come along, Charles.  

*
It is August and we are tired.  We are worried.  My son looks at me as I stand at the bathroom sink and bursts out, I don't want you to die!

*
Sunday is my day to sleep in.  My son tries his best to wake me, and I try my best to stay asleep.  Finally he walks away to find his father, leaving a rubber turtle next to my pillow.  When I wake an hour later, I am tenderly holding the turtle's flipper between my thumb and forefinger.  Come along.




(I wrote this poem as part of a poetry exchange with the poet Rebecca Bratten Weiss.  http://tinyletter.com/The_George_Sandinistas
We're taking a hiatus right now, but look for our chapbook in the future!)
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