Sunday, May 4, 2014

To LF, World Changer:

Note:  LF is working on a project called "About Me".  One part of the assignment was to ask an adult from your life to reflect on how they came to know you, how you are special, and what important things they might have to say.  This is what I wrote for her:

 To LF, World Changer:

The most special thing about you is that you were a glorious surprise.  You came crashing into our lives at a most unexpected time in a most unexpected way and, quite literally, changed our lives.  Not in the “We’ve had a child and now our life is changed forever” way – I mean, in that way too, yes.  But mostly in the “We were living one life and in the course of 9 months it became something completely different from what we ever expected it could be” way. Your dad was recruiting in IT and playing in a band and I was applying for PhD programs in Native American Literature and performing poetry, pretty convinced I’d never have kids. You very much rocked our world, child. You are my biggest and best surprise. And our life, the one that you gave us, the one that is so very different from what we expected,  is so much better than we ever could imagined.
You and I met late at night on November 20th, 2002.  You were 10 days past your due date, my friend – which is probably what should’ve warned us that we’d have a child who ran on Lilly-time.  The room was crowded when you were born, too. We had two grandmas, my doula, the doctor and my nurses, several NICU nurses and maybe even a partridge in a pear tree. Later that night, after everyone cleared the room and your father drifted off to sleep on the too-small and incredibly uncomfortable couch, I draped my hand over the edge of your hospital bassinet and rested my fingers on your chest.  I could feel your breath and you, suddenly, were so very far away from me. I wasn’t ready to share you, you see.  For nine and a half months, you’d been mine and mine alone but now, suddenly, you were in this world and I knew that this moment was the beginning of something momentous: your own unfurling.  A blooming, I guess. And every step of the way, your blooming has been beautiful and bittersweet.  It is a lovely thing, watching you grow. 

Now, you embark on your journey to middle school (How in the world are you in middle school already?). I know you will continue to unfurl – to bloom – and to leave your mark on the world as you’ve marked your father and I.  I am amazed by your potential and excited to get to know the you you will become.  On the next page, I enclosed a poem I wrote while you were waiting to be born, when our heartbeats were occasionally in sync, and when you very much enjoyed kicking Fergus as he snuggled up to my belly.
I love you, sweet* girl.

* Well, usually sweet. Sometimes sarcastic. Occasionally bitter. Let’s keep that bitterness occasional though, okay, and always, always, always recognize the beauty in this world and you are a part of that beauty


My baby girl dances to poetry.
Still in the womb she swings to the sound
of her mama’s voice wrapped round nouns
like so many sweets.
She’s swept off her feet at strangers’ slow
voice swaggers on slam stages.
 She sucks syllables instead of thumbs
and kisses the fist of every poem punched
in her direction.
Daily she lounges lazy afternoons snoozing
but when prosidy breaks through she’s moving
to wrap sounds round her like scarves.
She’ll not be starved in linguistic deserts
but steeped deep in word love for life.
My baby girl dances to poetry.
It’s no surprise she relishes word sounds
resounding in her small world.
Her father fell for me over poetry,
found his heart somewhere inside the lines of my rhymes
and I tripped over his strings, fell in step with his
lyrical concoctions, lost in his notes.
Now, with musician blood – his
and word blood – mine,
who knows how many dances our girl’s
got to go through to find herself,
to find her rhythm living in every breath
of her body and line of her mind.
My baby girl dances to poetry
and after we wear the marks of her birth,
I’ll wash her in tears, tear her fears from her eyes
and give her one gift:
I’ll swaddle her in word love turned
self-love, turned two feet always moving
to the music of her mind
the poetry of her blood,
the pumping and drumming
and drumming and pumping,
My baby girl dances to poetry.

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