Sun Peach

If the sun took a moment,

to hush itself and turn down the heat,

waiting for itself to darken, like a rotted peach

it would take eight minutes for any of us

to realize that life as we know it

would be snuffed out,

like a hot match between two wet fingertips.

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In A Day

Today, I spent time with myself.

After dropping MD off at school, I headed back home, coffee in hand. Tuned into the college radio station, I began to methodically go through stacks of paper. I gathered up the clusters of cups and snack wrappers from the living room. I hugged the dog a lot. By nine, I had reworked a few poems. Made the bed, wiped the counters down, vacuumed and dusted. I listened to the radio station with limited interruptions. The dog laid out on the hardwood floors by the back door- because that’s  where the sun comes in brightest and best. For a quick moment, I glanced out the back window with the hopes of seeing our cat. She wasn’t there. Her absence is a pock mark on my heart.

Before noon, I headed into town and checked in at the spa. A rare and delightful treat. 90 minutes of someone kneading out the stress that has piled on my shoulders. 90 minutes of calming oils, heated wraps, and the kneading. I’ve been keeping so much to myself. A limited audience to my frustrations, I’ve sat quietly and shut people out. Stripping down to my polka dotted panties, I crawled under the blanket, onto the table and let my arms dangle off the side. With my eyes closed, I drifted off as I felt the untangling of my body. I walked into that building with deep tension draped on my bones and walked out feeling perfect. That’s exactly how I felt. PERFECT.

As I opened the car door, I remembered I needed to send a postcard off to Russia. The bookstore no longer sells them. I couldn’t tell you the last time I bought a postcard, but I’m sure I’ll find one soon. Hopefully the recipient doesn’t mind the mail being late. Wandering around a bookstore when no one is shopping is quite pleasant. I had forgotten what being out and about while everyone else is at work was like. Grabbed two magazines and a sketch book. Looked over some cook books, some poets, some classics. I’ve been reading the same book for well over six months. I decided to keep my materials light. Instead of leaving straight away, I sat in the car listening to jazz and soaking up the sunshine.

At home, I made a cup of tea. Folded some clothes. Grilled a veggie burger. Listened to a band called Hospitality. She sings over and over, “I miss your bones, I miss your bones, I miss your….”

Today I needed the solitude.

Tomorrow I turn thirty five.

That’s as far as my plans go.

One day at a time loves, one day at a time.

A Dull Shine

Yesterday I placed my needs on your tongue

not unlike one of those sweet, but chalky

after dinner mints.

As it dissolved, I watched

your expression closely.

In the moment that I knew you understood,

we exchanged minty, fresh kisses.

 

Goggles

This morning at mass, the archbishop asked for money.
The priest explained how to fill out the envelope.
While a dvd played on the matt white wall next to the crucifixion

I thought about how

the Sunday before last, a Jesuit priest asked for money
for a new high school
He explained how to give.

I was only focused on the little boy in front of me,
who had his pants on backwards

I didn’t take a message with me
when I walked out the front doors
I only thought about breakfast
and what would be lost in the upcoming week

A week ago, while having lunch with my husband,
we looked over an email
and while it’s contents were exciting,

we stayed firmly planted

This was the first time in months I have heard my love say
that the daydream is getting close to reality
we held hands over the table
breaking only to eat tacos

Some times at night, while he sleeps next to me,
his arm draped across my chest
I look out the top of the window
watching the moon cast its glow
then I remember it’s just the street light
next to my mailbox

If I focus, squint even, I can make out a
few stars
only a handful of times have I mistaken
airplanes for stars

This morning, I tried to leave mass after communion
my husband caught me though
and I returned to the pew
to listen a few minutes more
about giving-

time, talents, wallets and forgiveness

Those last few sentences out of the priests mouth
hung on my collar at breakfast,
while I cleaned this afternoon,
as I watered my newly planted vegetables
and as I finished the last few stitches
on a knitting project,

I said to myself

that I forgive.

But I don’t think I really meant it.

Grits Is Just Ground Up Corn

The other day, MD was complaining that he was starving (he always is). I remember my brothers growing up and how they were never full. They’d eat supper, then have a mini supper and another after the fact. Then they started frying bologna with hot sauce and crumbling up chips on top of that, slathering mayo all over it and then shoving all that food in a pita pocket “as a snack.”  My youngest brother would just dump a whole box of cereal in a mixing bowl and sit at the kitchen table with a gallon of milk.  There was no sharing. No, no. Wait, maybe they were just stoned for five years.

Oh.

So, anyway!

Md and I are in the kitchen and I’m rattling off all 800 things he could possibly eat (none of which are appealing). The two of us are standing in front of the pantry, just staring. I look to the top shelf and see a bag of noodles and reach up to pull it down, revealing what we both thought was a box of oatmeal.

“YES!” we say simultaneously, high fiving.

I grab the box and then let out a groan. “Awww what! It’s grits!”

MD, who has never eaten such in his life asks, “What the hell are grits?”

Dude. “Grits is just ground up corn!” (Bonus points if you can name that sitcom). 

Luckily for him, he was willing to try some. After he discovers it’s a variety pack, he says he’ll go for the bacon flavored grits. I’m already feeling kinda guilty because A) I’m not sure how long those grits have been in the pantry and B) I’m about to feed my kid fake bacon. Alright, alright… and C) I’m feeding him processed food.

He starts to walk out of the kitchen and I’m all, “Whoa, whoa, whoa… you’re going to make these, not me.”

I was met with an eyeroll.

First order of business, READ THE DIRECTIONS.

He reads them and then, because I’m not quite sure if he actually did read them, I repeat:

“Pour half a glass of water in a bowl and nuke it for a minute.”

I turn around and watch as he grabs a short glass out of the cabinet and places it in the microwave. He sets the timer for 1:00 min.

“What the hell are you doing?”

“Nuking half a glass.”

We stare at one another for a solid thirty seconds.

“Half a glass?” 

“Yeah, like it says. Half a glass.” 

“OF WATER. NUKE HALF A GLASS OF WATER.” 

Five second stare = three minute laugh. 

Once we’d regained composure and warmed the water enough, we poured the packet of grits into the bowl. The smell made my stomach turn. I hate grits, but I wasn’t about to put this prepackaged culinary discovery on the shelf just yet. As he stirred, I watched chunks of bacon form. “Huh. Look at that. It’s like those dino eggs they used to put in oatmeal.” 

“What?! EGGS?” 

“Oh yeah, you weren’t around for any of that. They used to put these candy eggs inside oatmeal that broke open to reveal a dinosaur or some shit. Your Uncle Mike lived off that stuff. Anyway, go on… take a bite.”

He does.

He smiles.

He inhales the bowl. “The bacon tastes like bacon! Weird!”

I shake my head and promise that I’ll buy real bacon this week. The good kind. With fat back. Maybe I’ll even whip up some cracklin cornbread. He nods in agreement, wide eyed, asking if I’ll make a skillet just for him. Not to share mind you, but to eat. Alone. Like a rebel.

The he walks over to fridge, grabs two cheese sticks, a drink and as he’s leaving the kitchen, stops to open the pantry to grab half a bag of pork rinds. I tossed the rest of the grits while he wasn’t looking. It may just be ground up corn, but the least I can do next time is make them fresh.

Mom’s honor. 

Golden Birthday

MD,

You don’t remember the day you were born, but I have the distinct pleasure of reminding you.

Every year.

For the rest of my life.

It’s our job as Mother’s. Sometimes we use our children’s births as threats, “I BROUGHT YOU IN THIS WORLD, I CAN TAKE YOU OUT!” or for guilt, “I WAS IN LABOR WITH YOU FOR XX AMOUNT OF HOURS AND YOU CAN’T GIVE ME A HUG?” or when we’re emotional, which usually happens on your birthday, “Ohhh today, I was holding your sweet little face close to mine…”

(You were just a few hours old here).

Everyone has a golden birthday. Mine was when I turned twenty eight. Yours is this year, when you turn thirteen.

THIRTEEN.

I really am in awe about this. First off, it’s a little difficult for me to fathom that I am the mother to a teenager. Secondly, I can tell you think I’m a big dork and that you mumble how you despise me when I ask you no less than seventeen times if you finished your social studies outline and did you do that extra credit in math and where do all your socks go? Are you listening?

By now you’ve heard the story of your birth. How I was alone and clueless in Yokosuka, Japan. How I wore a pair of Papa’s work overalls for like five months because I couldn’t find any cool maternity clothes. How two weeks after your birth, we had to go to the grocery store, so we walked. WALKED. In the winter. Next to the sea. I wore you against my chest, put a blanket over you, put on my coat and zipped it up. I slung my back pack on and we did it. The little Japanese ladies liked when I would stop and unzip my coat a bit so they could rub your tiny face. They’d make these clucking noises and touch my arm. Sometimes they’d give me sweet treats, which I graciously accepted, even if I had no idea what I was eating. It was fun and you were always a great baby.

Hold on, I gotta get a kleenex…

Okay.

So you’re thirteen. I’d like to list thirteen of my favorite moments and things about you.  I’m your Mom, so you can’t object. If you do, I’ll take away your phone. Yeah. So, there’s that.

1. That time you hit Gramma Dickerson in the head with a golf ball (even typing that sentence sent me into hysterics).

2. The way you open the door for me or any other lady/girl/teacher/elder.  That tiny gesture makes me proud of you.

3. The time you ate tacos at daycare, came home and barfed. Everywhere. We refer to this incident as “The Vomit Sprinkler.”  It was also the first time I was truly unsure of how to clean up such a huge mess; so I put you out on the back deck and hosed you off. Worked like a charm!

4. When you put rocks in your nose so that you would see if you’d poop gravel.

5. You trusted me enough with your first loose tooth to tie dental floss to it, tie that to a Nerf bullet gun and then shoot it across the room. IT WAS SO FREAKIN AWESOME.

6. You’ve got this really quick wit about you. Sometimes you’re a little blunt and sometimes, you don’t get the joke. At all (sorry man, you get this from me). 

7. All those nights when you were little when you’d sit next to me, sip on warm milk and twirl my hair till you fell asleep.

8. You have surpassed Mema and Nana in height. As of right now, you are 1/2″ taller than me. Feeding you is becoming a part time job. So is buying you clothes and shoes. STOP TURNING INTO A GIANT.

9. The fact that you are such a talented musician. This also makes me realize that I was making the correct choice by letting you drum on the side of the couch with my paint brushes and spending half my paycheck to buy you your first drum kit.

10. When you told me about your first confession, even when I told you it was private and you shouldn’t tell me. You did anyway and it was: “I told the priest I tried to touch the cat’s butthole because I was just curious. He said that wasn’t really a sin, but I felt bad for Abby.”

11. Bill and I taking you to your first concert, which was RUSH and then, when they started playing Subdivisions, you turned to me and said, “THAT’S YOUR JAM MOM!” 

12. When you flung that Hot Wheel into Papa’s brand new flat screen television and HE DIDN’T EVEN GET MAD AT YOU.

13. The creeper face you do. Which is usually while I’m writing, then I look up and you’re just holding this look on your face and it creeps me out! It always makes me bust out laughing though. Just promise me you won’t do this on any dates with girls. NEVER ON A DATE, YOU HEAR ME?  

This, of course, was a quick list. I promise I jotted the first thirteen things that came to mind.

You and I are starting to knock skulls a little bit, but I know that comes with the territory.  Last Saturday, I told you we would be volunteering at the Mens Shelter serving supper. You rolled your eyes and I said, “I know, I completely understand that blinding white hot rage you feel in your chest right now.”  As soon as I said it, your face went red. Look, I remember thirteen. I remember all the crazy friends, parties, good times, soul crushing loves, thinking my parents didn’t know shit, so forth and so on. Just know, that I’m here for you. Even if it’s just for a quick hug or to make you Mac N’ Cheese or those scrambled egg sandwiches (that you say are the best ever). Also, it’s part of my job as your Mom to constantly remind you that I’m here for you. I told Nana the other day that I’m sure I’ll download your syllabus in college and then call, “Did you finish your outline in Political Science? Are you studying for the chem final yet? Are you eating food? You’re not going out partying too much are you? Do you have a wing man? What?” It’s my job. Just as it’s Grammy and Nana & Papa’s job to continuously check on me. You’ll understand one day, promise.

MD, we’re so very proud of you.  From school work, to drama, to hearing your new music, laughing over gifs with you, making new memories and for becoming a pretty kick ass young man. You are compassionate, thoughtful, extremely hilarious and I’m looking forward to watching you continue to grow up. Even if it means I have to wear Depends when I teach you how to drive. Wait, on second thought, I may ask Bill to teach you. I’ll just sit in the backseat and scream.

I’ll stop here before I have a complete meltdown.

Don’t worry, you’ll see that tomorrow. Then you’ll roll your eyes and give me one of those bro hugs and I’ll go eat like three pieces of cake in the closet while I look at all your tiny baby clothes. Okay, maybe not that, but close.

You’ll always be my tiny Bee.

Remember, “I love you more than bread.”

-Mom 

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