poem: Hush

I’ve always been drawn to “moment poems.” They don’t have to be particularly profound or astute, as long as there’s enough rich language to bring me to the moment too. Even the word “moment” is alluring to me. The other day I had a rare moment of tranquility, where the only thing I needed to do was just be present, while my daughter slept. The peace of it wasn’t lost on me, and I tried to capture it here.

 

Hush

She’s fallen asleep in the car

not the gradual kind

but a crash into sleep

where one minute it’s protesting from the back

about the tightness of the seatbelt

and next she is silent

still, a tiny smile on her lips.

We can’t bear to move her,

know the shift and heft from seat

into our arms, no matter how gingerly

will rouse her, fast and unwilling.

He takes her sister inside

and I offer to stay, though I have no book

and don’t want the blare of the radio.

It’s starting to get hot now, the cusp of summer

and I crack open my door to let in the air.

I hear our tenant magpies

from their clever garage-roof vantage.

They always have so much to say.

I envy their passion for debate.

A neighbour, unseen but I’d guess two-houses down

is mowing a lawn, the buzz of the motor

becomes a comfortable constant.

I recline my seat, careful not to bump her legs

getting so much longer now

as they dangle behind me, one white shoe,

with hearts, hanging just from her toes.

I will shut my eyes too

can’t sleep, really, like this

but meditate or at least savour a moment

without demand.

A clatter from behind the car

when brittle leaves,

carcasses of fall, catch a breeze,

and scrape together across the

concrete. There is a pause, then a bolder blowing

that frightens them away under steps

and into grassy corners.

She’s a guardian wind, I think

protective of our quiet here

together. I keep my eyes closed,

do not stir

when she slips into the car

and whispers a lullaby

meant only for the two of us.

 

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