I oughta save this for Mother's Day but
A. Mother's Day is a dumb Hallmark holiday anyway, and
B. it's a long ways off.
To say I know the poet would be kind of an exaggeration. We were co-staff members of a poetry magazine in college, only 6 of us, but she and I were not paired on a project. She's brilliant and shy and I never got to know her there. But I've watched with interest as her award-winning work has given me a glimpse into a talented mind and heart. Her books have a strong autobiographical thread through them and tell, among other things, about her deep desire to have a child. At the end of the last collection I felt so sorry that she was still waiting for her dream, and so happy when this new book arrived and I saw she finally, at age 45, had a son!
This poem, from that new book, made me smile.
Rocked in my mother's pregnant amble,
and born into forty-five years in the dark,
the egg this child was also swayed in the arts
of lovers I took before you, fed with me
in the public markets of Baltimore and Denpasar
on oysters and rambutan, woke with me each year
to new waves of wander, fish and flower,
liqueur of each region, and bread of each village,
each cup of moonlight in the long sward
between my window and the Wannsee.
The egg he was heard the voices
of everyone I desired and held itself
in some deep hormonal bloom,
taking whatever was remarkable
in my life into its possibility.
We learned not to hurry in Balinese rain,
to listen for the rumble of wild boar
in the Malvan woods. We climbed
into planes bound for cities we'd never
visit again and skin we'd summon
with sobbing. And so, my husband,
as you dream of owning this child,
remember that he has ridden in my fire,
bathed in my blood, and sipped
at the breath I drew the first
time I saw what Rodin had clawed
from stone before he turned from Claudel
and went home for dinner and a clean shirt.
Remember that this child is collage
of everything before you, frangipani
and escargot, five-for-a-dollar boxes
of macaroni, and French cherries
from an old woman in Auvergne
who insisted on the gift
because it was so marvelous
to see a woman travelling alone.
-- Leslie Adrienne Miller
from The Resurrection Trade. Graywolf Press, 2007.
You can get the book at Books-a-Million, B&N, or Amazon.