Learning to live with five hours of sleep,
night after night and beyond disbelief,
so my eyes burn out,
and my back feels tight,
my biceps have moved to my once narrow waist,
banana peels lie on the floor in the space
where she and I used to play games,
or make beer,
or lie tangled winter Saturdays with nothing to do
but flip through the channels and think,
as if still children,
what we could do;
those idle hours,
I know they were grains in an hourglass,
and it went as if we traded them for some beans—
oh no—not at all. . .
today, a sliver of that hunk of capricious skyway—
what we would give for it,
if only it could be bought. . .
Here, in the ring,
among the throng of bottles and bibs and numbering and,
Lord, those 2:00 am wakeups when it can’t be teething,
it can’t be hunger or mother’s breast she wants—
how to read the subtle intonations of your toddler’s wail?
Learning to flop for the sake of self-preservation,
and thus the family’s sake.
Learning to re-learn to fit these evolving needs,
not my needs alone now,
but those of the other three who lie in their beds,
unlike me, asleep, only to waken when
I’ve finally succumbed to the drag of the day and
lay my head,
with ice pick in my temple,
on my pillow beside her.
Sunday it snowed again just as the
sun, so faint in these first days of winter,
skimmed like a stone over the breadth of
earth, and after our little sister went down,
you and I sat at the table and sketched,
and whispered things between us, and we watched the
window pane, starting in the corner, spreading up
like birth itself, turn white with frost, and then
the just-landed eyelash flakes from the north
lay down quietly in randomness,
making beauty before our eyes.
We planted seeds in March when
the ground was still bare,
the ground was still cast as plaster all
out wide and desolate as far
as we could see.
You sat on the counter.
You too sat in my right arm.
I dripped the water into the bucket of
dirt, and mixed it with my free hand,
and you asked your string of brazen questions,
and you too wanted out of my arm,
but not on the floor,
but not on the counter opposite you.
I poured the dirt in the tray,
And we three spread it,
the earth of our home,
until it was smooth and even.
The seeds you, and you too, picked out
at the nursery a week ago.
I showed you how to make ruts,
and then drop the seeds in,
and then cover them up.
We watered them.
Earth flowed in the flood—
but a week later when the first ones emerged,
the rows were straight,
to our surprise and shared wonder.
We ran in the yard first mowed in this heady spring,
around the towering evergreens of peace,
and down the hill where the apple tree stump stands alive with suckers,
then across the weedy plain of my former garden—
to the sprouts and leaves still clinging on,
kicking balls and rolling in crabgrass,
chasing the sun as it set beyond the old farmhouse waiting.
We ran, we three, we ran with all we had today.
We ran, you and me, giving me something to dream on in the morning.
Our sky, our gusty wind, our dandelions.
Ours, they were this day,
ours they’ll be again.
We ran for hours into the hands of bliss.
We ran as stallions across the bluffs of time.